Farmington Police release videos from April 9 of officers killing armed suspect

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Graphic raw footage showing events before, during and after the April 9 shooting of a 21-year-old Farmington man police were trying to arrest was released by the Farmington Police Department Thursday.

Police also released a video statement from Chief Steve Hebbe about the shooting.

Farmington resident Charlie Thompson, 21, was identified on April 12 as the man police shot and killed.

The raw video footage, captured by several police vest cams — and some dashboard camera footage from the patrol cars of responding officers — shows a foot pursuit across 20th Street and into a residential neighborhood, ending near the intersection of Yucca Avenue and Sage Drive where the shooting took place.

More:Farmington police identify man shot, killed in April 9 shooting near East 20th Street

The chase and confrontation on April 9 began when police rolled up in squad cars to detain a felony warrant suspect they spotted in the parking lot near a gym and other businesses on 1700 block of East 20th Street.

It was around 4:50 p.m. that police officers saw Thompson sitting inside a vehicle in that parking lot and ordered him out of a truck. Thompson is seen in a video reaching into the truck to retrieve something before running across 20th Street.

One pursuing officer radioed that the suspect had a gun, and, when the chase stopped, officers are heard on the video repeatedly urging Thompson to drop a firearm he held in his right hand. A video caption added by police noted he had a cellphone in his left hand.

Police confirmed on May 5 that a .40 caliber Glock pistol with a loaded magazine was recovered at the scene. After the shooting, a video indicates that the gun was placed on the roof of a nearby squad car, and an officer was told to stay with it.

After the shooting, the vest cam videos recorded efforts by officers to staunch bleeding from the man’s chest wound as they waited for an ambulance to arrive. 

Hebbe said in his video that police worked with the District Attorney's Office to ensure that Thompson's family was shown the videos before their public release.

A still capture from an officer's vest cam shows that officer aiming a gun at an armed man on April  9 shortly before police shot and killed the man. Police  identified the man on April 12 as 21-year-old Charlie Thompson of Farmington.

Chief’s statement supports his officers

“As I’ve said before about previous incidents, we’re aware that an officer involved shooting is a significant and emotional event for the community, the police department, and the friends and family of everyone involved,” Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in a prepared statement accompanying the video releases.

Hebbe said in a video message that he supports the actions and decision made by his officers in this incident.

More:Farmington police shoot, kill suspect Saturday afternoon near E. 20th Street

“In this case, Mr. Thompson was confronted by officers and chose to flee while carrying a gun,” Hebbe said in the video. “He ran across a busy street and into a neighborhood. He was a felon with three felony warrants out for his arrest for violent actions while armed with a handgun. Given those facts, the officers' choices were few.”

Hebbe said allowing Thompson to run into a residential neighborhood while holding a gun was not an option.

“They did pursue him, caught up with him and repeatedly tried to get him to drop his weapon,” Hebbe said. “Mr. Thompson did not, faced off with the officers and eventually raised the gun in the direction of one of the officers. While I’m deeply saddened for Mr. Thompson’s family and friends, our officers had few choices, and none of them were good.”

Officer Ammon Roberts and Officer Andrew Standley were the officers involved in the incident.

“The two officers are on administrative leave, which is the routine procedure of the Farmington Police Department,” the department’s news release stated.

Police spokesperson Nicole Brown said no more information will be released about the shooting until the San Juan County Regional Officer Involved Shooting Task Force finishes its investigation and the District Attorney’s Office has finalized its review.

Contact John R. Moses at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses@daily-times.com.

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