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The Farmington Police Department released video from the officer-involved shooting in Farmington on Dec. 20. Officer Brandt Warman fired five shots at Frankie Anchondo after Anchondo allegedly pointed an object at the officer he believed was a gun. Wochit

The officer who shot and killed Anchondo in December 2017 remains on the Farmington police force

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FARMINGTON — A panel of three New Mexico district attorneys has ruled that a Farmington Police Department officer was justified when he shot and killed Frankie Anchondo in 2017.

A letter dated Feb. 28 was sent to Eleventh Judicial District Attorney Div. 1 Rick Tedrow from a panel of three district attorneys, who stated they unanimously agreed that Officer Brandt Warman was justified when he shot and killed 35-year-old Anchondo, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Daily Times.

The incident occurred on the night of Dec. 20, 2017, along Riverstone Road north of U.S. Highway 64 in south Farmington.

More: Farmington officer fired five shots in fatal December shooting

The officer was at the intersection of East Broadway Avenue and McCormick School Road around 6:20 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2017, when he saw Alicia Jackson, Anchondo's passenger, hanging outside the window of the passenger-side door of a pickup truck driving and screaming for help, according to The Daily Times archives.

Warman followed the vehicle onto U.S. Highway 64 then onto Riverstone Road as the officer attempted a traffic stop before the shooting occurred.

Warman fired three rounds at Anchondo in the middle of the road and Anchondo died from a single gunshot wound, according to the letter.

More: New Mexico State Police identify man killed by Farmington officer

The DA letter states Warman felt like his life was threatened as he believed Anchondo had a firearm in his hand.

"Anchondo continued to move laterally by side stepping and facing the officer with the object in his hand," the letter states.

The object found in his hand was a large, silver and black "E-cig" lighter.

The New Mexico State Police handled the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

In a statement to The Daily Times, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said Warman made the best decision he could have made in a very difficult moment that occurred very quickly.

"These situations are always difficult for the community, the department, and the family and friends of the deceased. We strive to work with our community as much as possible, and are always saddened when these incidents occur," Hebbe said. "Safety and professionalism are Farmington Police Department’s highest priorities, and Officer Warman did the best he could to uphold both of those values."

Warman still works for the Farmington Police Department and did not violate any FPD policy, according to Hebbe.

The panel was comprised of Second Judicial District Attorney Raul Torrez, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Richard Flores and Ninth Judicial District Attorney Andrea Reeb.

The three DAs reviewed a plethora of evidence in the case including officer dash cam videos, 911 and dispatch calls, photographs, lab/autopsy reports along with audio and written statements.

More: Farmington police release video of officer-involved shooting

They formed as a group on Feb. 26 and invited the crime scene investigator and the case agent to answer any questions they had. They determined Warman did not use excessive force and his shooting was justified. The panel went a step further and recommended the criminal matter against the officer be closed.

A narrative of events detailed in the letter echoes the narrative state police released in statements following the shooting.

Farmington police released video footage from Warman's dashboard camera on Jan. 16, 2018, from his patrol vehicle.

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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