Video shows pursuit, incidents leading up to U.S. Highway 64 officer-involved shooting
VIDEO: Farmington police release footage from officer-involved shooting Farmington Daily Times
Footage shows Lamar Light charging Detective Chris Blea prior to the shooting
FARMINGTON — The Farmington Police Department released video from the May 18 officer-involved shooting that resulted in an Albuquerque-resident being hospitalized and flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital.
The video begins with a Farmington police officer not involved in the incident standing outside Brookhaven Park — West in Farmington. Meanwhile, Detective Chris Blea was working an overtime patrol assignment when he received information about a vehicle driving recklessly and at high speeds on U.S. Highway 64, according to a press release issued by the Farmington Police Department.
The video shows Lamar Light, 39, of Albuquerque approaching Blea, who is separated from Light by a construction barrier. Blea can be heard saying that Light has a knife prior to Light crossing a construction barrier and pursuing Blea, who was backing up at the time.
After taking several steps toward Blea, the video shows Light beginning to run at the officer. At that point, Blea fires his gun and Light collapses to the ground
Pursuit began in the Kirtland area, ended with a crash
Light was initially seen speeding through the Kirtland area. San Juan County Sheriff’s Office deputies began pursuit.
According to a press release from Farmington police, a deputy pursued Light until they approached Farmington’s city limits in the west. The deputy stopped the pursuit because the erratic driving could put the public in danger.
The press release states Light was running red lights and nearly caused several crashes.
Light allegedly struck multiple vehicles as well as construction material on U.S. Highway 64 near the intersection with Andrea Drive.
Eventually Light allegedly crashed into another car and got out of his vehicle. Blea was the first officer to arrive at the crash scene and the video shows a witness pointing to where Light is standing on the other side of a concrete construction barrier.
Farmington police chief releases statement
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe issued a statement on May 30 supporting Blea’s actions.
“Mr. Light’s actions endangered countless citizens as he drove recklessly through the city and ultimately crashed into multiple vehicles,” Hebbe said. “We are very relieved no lives were lost during this incident. When the officer attempted to contact Mr. Light at the crash scene, he made the decision to charge the officer while armed, giving the officer less than a few seconds to make a decision. Although the investigation remains ongoing, preliminary indications show our officer acted within policy and was forced to take necessary action to protect his life and the lives of others.”
Blea has been in law enforcement for 12 years and joined Farmington Police Department in December 2010. He previously worked in Los Lunas.
Light remains hospitalized
Following the shooting, Light was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center and later flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. According to the press release, Light is still in the hospital. He faces nine felony charges, including aggravated assault of an officer.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.
Arlon Stoker and Mark Curnutt, Light’s attorneys, declined comment on the release, stating they haven’t reviewed the footage yet.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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