Man was wanted by police on aggravated battery charge

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FARMINGTON — A standoff Monday night at a Farmington motel ended in a Colorado shooting suspect’s death early today when Farmington police say the knife-wielding man was shot after he charged SWAT officers.

New Mexico State Police tonight identified the suspect as Bayfield, Colorado, resident Andrew Rossi, a suspect in a Feb. 25 shooting that left a 47-year-old man dead. He was wanted by the Ignacio, Colorado, Police Department for a warrant on a felony count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to a release by Farmington Police Department spokeswoman Georgette Allen.

Allen declined further comment and referred additional questions to the New Mexico State Police, which took over the investigation of the shooting.

“While it’s unfortunate that the suspect chose not to end this peacefully, we are extremely relieved and grateful that none of our officers or any other civilians were harmed,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in the release.

The name of the SWAT team officer who shot the suspect was not released.

"The name of the officer(s) involved will not be released until the completion of the interviews," the State Police said in a press release tonight on their Twitter page.

Ray Wilson, New Mexico State Police spokesman, said investigators have taken over the scene and were unable to provide additional information. A narrative released Tuesday night by the state police closely matched  the one released early Tuesday morning by Farmignton police,

Messages left with the Ignacio Police Department were not returned.

Police said in the statement that the suspect and his mother were staying at the Motel 6 at 1600 Bloomfield Blvd. in Farmington when deputies from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office located his vehicle outside the motel at 8:45 p.m. Monday.

Farmington’s SWAT team and crisis negotiation team responded after police confirmed the man and his mother were registered at the motel.

“His mother came out of the room at approximately 10:18 p.m.,” police said in their statement. “SWAT officers began making announcements for the suspect to come out. Around 10:56 p.m. an FPD crisis negotiator attempted to make contact with the suspect by phone, but the suspect would not answer.”

The police crisis negotiation team continued calling for another hour but no contact was made with the suspect.

After a search warrant was granted, the SWAT team slowly entered the room around 1 a.m. today, and they determined the man was hiding in the ceiling. 

“SWAT officers began removing the ceiling tile and the suspect fell out,” the release stated. “Once on the ground, he immediately stood up and charged officers with a knife. An officer fired his duty weapon striking the suspect. Medical aid was immediately rendered and the suspect was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.”

Law enforcement was still at the Motel 6 this afternoon. Four rooms on the first floor facing the motel pool were blocked by police tape as investigators continued to work the scene.

A State Police crime scene unit and Farmington police mobile command unit were parked across the street from the motel.

Near the scene, a Farmington SWAT vehicle was parked in the parking lot behind the motel.

Albuquerque resident Orin Yazzie was one of the guests staying at the Motel 6 when the shooting occurred. Yazzie told the Daily Times he watched the scene from his motel room. At one point, he heard a woman scream following three loud bangs and also heard the woman scream the name Andrew.

Yazzie questioned the Farmington police statement which stated medical aid was immediately rendered and that the suspect was transported to the hospital. As he watched the scene on and off for about 30 minutes, Yazzie did not see anybody removed from the motel room where the shooting occurred.

Yazzie added he might have missed the suspect being transported but did not believe he did.

Today's shooting was the second fatal officer-involved shooting involving a Farmington Police Department officer in recent months.

More: UPDATE: Farmington officer shoots, kills suspect

On Dec. 20, Farmington Officer Brandt Warman fired five shots at Frankie Anchondo, 35, of Aztec, in southeast Farmington after Anchondo exited his pickup truck and started approaching Warman with an electronic cigarette pointed at the officer.

The previous two Farmington police officer-involved shootings occurred in January 2013.

Content Director John Moses contributed to this story.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

Note: This story was modified to add the identity of the suspect killed by police. — Ed.

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