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ATF joins Farmington police shooting investigation after explosives found

The defendant was arrested on Feb. 3 after hospital treatment

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Humberto Vasquez faces nine felony charges including five counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and a count of aggravated battery on a peace officer.
  • Farmington police released two videos on the afternoon of Feb. 5 including footage of the police shooting.
  • Vasquez’s first appearance in Farmington Magistrate Court was on the afternoon of Feb. 4.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Police Department announced federal authorities have joined the investigation into a Jan. 20 police shooting because homemade explosives were found inside a residence occupied by the man they shot.

The Farmington police chief also said the officers’ actions during the incident on Glade Lane were within training and policy as the agency released video footage from the incident.

Farmington police identified Alfonso Sifuentes and Ammon Roberts as the two officers who fired upon 46-year-old Humberto Vasquez of Farmington on the morning of Jan. 20 in the 1000 block of Glade Lane, according to a department press release.

Previous coverage:Man shot by Farmington police faces 11 criminal charges

The two officers have been on administrative leave since the incident.

The number of times Vasquez was struck by gunfire has not been released. The two officers fired six rounds at the defendant.

Farmington police released two videos on the afternoon of Feb. 5.

A screen capture of video released by the Farmington Police Department shows Humberto Vasquez throwing a Molotov cocktail officers on Jan. 20. Vasquez was shot by police and was treated for his injuries.

Video statement

The first video was a nearly six-minute address from Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe speaking about the incident.

Hebbe said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has joined the investigation.

Humberto Vasquez

Vasquez allegedly had a total of three Molotov cocktails and two homemade explosives.

The defendant is accused of throwing two Molotov cocktails at officers, including one that led to an officer being covered in gasoline.

The Farmington Police Department Bomb Squad located a third Molotov cocktail and two explosives inside the residence. 

Hebbe also said the department has completed its review of the incident and determined the officers’ actions during the incident were within policy and training.

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"How our officers deal with crisis situations must be subject to a thorough review and critical discussion,” Hebbe said. “In this case, our officers did the best they could under difficult circumstances."

Vasquez faces nine felony charges including five counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and a count of aggravated battery on a peace officer.

16 minutes of video footage

The second video released by police to media was about 16 minutes long and provides a look at the incident. The video was not released on the agency's social media pages.

Officers were dispatched to the scene after Vasquez allegedly pulled a gun on two people after breaking into their apartment and punching a woman two times.

The video shows the back and forth between Vasquez and officers at the scene.

Members of his family are heard telling officers Vasquez has mental health issues and yelling at the defendant to stop during the video.

Vasquez is seen breaking out the windows of the apartment he’s inside and yelling profanity at officers, along with people described as “associated parties.”

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The defendant is heard yelling in the video that he won’t go to jail, and taunting officers to shoot him.

The video shows Vasquez throwing the magazine of the gun out the window and an officer recovering the handgun Vasquez also threw out the window.

Video from a vehicle’s dashboard camera showed Vasquez  throwing two Molotov cocktails. The lit rag inserted into the first Molotov cocktail fell out of the bottle while in mid-air.

Vasquez is seen throwing the second Molotov cocktail at officers, then he was struck in the abdomen by gunfire as he retreated inside the residence, according to the video footage. 

Vasquez dragged himself out the front door and officers quickly attended to his injuries. He was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Court hearings

The defendant was released from the hospital on Feb. 3 and was arrested later that day, according to Farmington police Spokesperson Nicole Brown.

Vasquez’s first appearance in Farmington Magistrate Court was on the afternoon of Feb. 4. He remains in custody in the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

The San Juan County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion on Feb. 5 to keep Vasquez at the jail without bond as he awaits trial.

A hearing on the motion is set for the morning of Feb. 10 in Aztec District Court. 

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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