Farmington police officer shoots man in custody at hospital

The Daily Times staff
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Farmington police officer shot a suspect in custody at the San Juan Regional Medical Center on Sunday night after "an unprovoked attack," according to a press release from the Farmington Police Department.

The suspect was identified as an adult man, but no other information about him was released. Farmington police spokeswoman Georgette Allen said police on Monday were still working to "positively identify" the man.

Officers were dispatched at 8:49 p.m. Sunday to the 2600 block of Best Street to investigate a stolen company vehicle. Callers told police dispatchers the driver was driving erratically and was involved in several hit-and-run crashes, according to the release.

Officers located the car driving into oncoming traffic, without headlights on, along East Main Street between 30th Street and Cliffside Drive.

Police stopped the driver and took him into custody. He was taken by ambulance to San Juan Regional Medical Center for medical screening and processing, and an officer completed a standard drunken driving investigation, the release states.

As medical staff moved the man to another part of the hospital, a "violent struggle" ensued, and the man attacked the officer, the release states.

During the altercation, the officer shot the man at about 10:20 p.m., Allen said.

The suspect is being treated at San Juan Regional Medical Center and his condition was not released Monday.

The officer suffered minor injuries. The name of the officer involved in the shooting has not been released, and the officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is police department policy, the release states. Allen said the officer who shot the suspect had taken over the case from the arresting officers.

New Mexico State Police are investigating the shooting at the hospital, State Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Pierce confirmed Monday. Pierce said additional information may be released in "a number of days or longer."

"We're trying to piece together the sequence of events," Pierce said.

Meanwhile, Farmington police are investigating the events leading up to the man's arrest, Allen said. As of Monday afternoon, the suspect had not been charged, Allen said, but police were looking at referring several charges to the San Juan County District Attorney's Office, including drunken driving, stealing a vehicle and an undetermined number of hit and runs.

Farmington police are asking anyone with information about the events leading up to the incident to call Detective George Joy at 505-599-1032.

"We want to put a complete timeline out to the community," Allen said.

Hospital spokeswoman Roberta Rogers said Monday that the hospital was placed on lockdown for an hour after the shooting, meaning people could not enter or exit the building.

After the hour-long lockdown, the hospital resumed its normal operations.

"We are back to normal operations, and we will review the situation, making any adjustments as necessary," Rogers said Monday afternoon.

Rogers said the patient remained at San Juan Regional Medical Center after the shooting because, "he is a patient, and we treat all patients."