DA's Office reviews police shooting at hospital

Steve Garrison
Heriberto Nava-Martinez

FARMINGTON – New Mexico State Police have completed their investigation into the Sept. 6 police shooting of a Mexican national at the San Juan Regional Medical Center.

Dustin O'Brien, chief deputy district attorney of the San Juan County District Attorney's Office, said Wednesday his office received the evidence in the case earlier this month.

He said he is reviewing it to determine whether Farmington police Officer David Rock was justified in shooting Heriberto Nava-Martinez.

The evidence includes footage from Rock's body camera and dashboard camera, as well as numerous police reports, according to O'Brien.

According to a police press release, Rock was transporting Nava-Martinez at the hospital on Sept. 6 when Nava-Martinez engaged Rock in a violent struggle. During the struggle, Rock allegedly shot Nava-Martinez.

O'Brien said he already has watched the footage from Rock's body camera, and it seems to support the department's explanation of what happened.

"You can hear Rock say, 'Don't try to go for my gun,'" O'Brien said.

O'Brien said Rock shot Nava-Martinez once with his firearm, and then Nava-Martinez began to flee.

But Nava-Martinez then cursed at Rock and charged at him, resulting in his being shot twice more, according to O'Brien.

Before the shooting, Nava-Martinez, 23, allegedly stole a truck from an east Farmington business and crashed it into several objects on Main Street, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. He was at the hospital for a blood test.

O'Brien said Nava-Martinez already has been charged with battery on a peace officer and disarming a peace officer on allegations he attacked Rock and attempted to steal his gun.

Nava-Martinez also faces charges of assault with intent to commit a violent felony, attempted armed robbery, vehicle theft and two counts of felony vandalism, among other offenses.

He is set to be arraigned in district court on Nov. 30, according to court records.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.