Memories of Edward Daniel Santana flooded back to family members Tuesday as they talked about his life and death.

They remembered the good times. They anguished over the darkness — the drug use, the struggle with addiction, and finally the horrific moments of July 7 that led to the stabbing of Santana’s mother, and later, his own death after he was fatally shot by Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies off Bishops Lodge Road.

“That,” said Santana’s father, Edward Gene Santana, “was not my son.”

New Mexico State Police said Edward Daniel Santana, known to family members as Daniel, stabbed his mother, 67-year-old Delia Cervantes, multiple times before he was shot and killed by deputies investigating the incident.

State police, who are leading the investigation, said Daniel Santana, 45, was seen standing on a patio holding a fence post and began to walk toward deputies “in an aggressive manner” and ignored their commands. Police said an officer deployed a Taser before another fired at least one shot.

Santana was pronounced dead at the scene. Cervantes succumbed to her injuries in a local hospital that same day.

Santana’s paternal family said the incident remains a shocking one, noting Daniel’s drug use had begun to change him in the months leading up to the incident.

But they also questioned deputies’ actions.

Family members who spoke with an aunt who lived at the home with Cervantes said Santana slit his own throat after stabbing his mother. They said they believe Daniel likely was bleeding to death before deputies shot him, and they are unsure he could have assaulted an officer in that condition.

“I went and saw the site, and there was all this blood,” Santana’s aunt, Josie Santana, said in an interview Tuesday. “These officers, were they really in danger? Why do they always have to shoot to kill?”

Cervantes’ sister, Carmen Valenzuela, who witnessed the attack and shooting, declined to comment Tuesday.

Edward Gene Santana said the response he received from law enforcement when he arrived “disturbed” him.

“When I got there, I asked the officer, ‘How’s Daniel? How’s Daniel?’ ” he said. “The officer responded, ‘Oh, he’s been shot. He’ll never bother anybody again.’ ”

State police did not respond to questions about the family’s statements on Daniel Santana’s reported attempt at suicide, nor how it affected deputies’ actions. A spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office referred all questions to state police.

Cervantes, who was never married to Santana’s father, was a longtime bus driver for Santa Fe Public Schools. She was organized and an avid runner, the family said.

Her 20-year relationship with Edward Santana ended more than a decade ago, but family members said both families were gracious and spent time together.

They added that as an adult, Daniel Santana was “off and on” between living with his father and aunt on Siringo Road in Santa Fe and staying in a room he rented near Tesuque. He was in touch with his mother but did not see her very often, they added.

Edward Santana said his son was struggling with drug addiction, and drug use had begun to change the man he knew. Crystal methamphetamine was one of the drugs he knew his son was using, he said.

Family members recalled a kind man and hard worker before drugs took hold. Daniel Santana, they said, loved hunting, motorcycles and bike riding, often with his close friends.

“That wasn’t him — that was not him,” Josie Santana said, referring to the darker moments in Daniel Santana’s life. “He had a big heart. He was so gentle with animals, and he loved his family.”

She said Daniel worked in carpentry and construction and often helped her with projects on her 1-acre property. He had even helped build a garden she now calls “Daniel’s Garden.”

About a year ago, Daniel Santana took part in a four-month rehabilitation program, and his fight with addiction was improving, family members said.

It didn’t last.

“Three to four months ago, I noticed a change in him,” his father said. “That drug is a very paranoid drug that alters the brain. He was a completely different person — it destroyed him.”

An aunt, Teresa Ordaz, said there had always been some tension between Santana and his mother. But she had never seen Santana get angry or become violent, and she knew Cervantes loved her son as well.

“He was a very sad individual, but he tried to be happy,” Ordaz said. “He was just a very loving man that was looking for something, like acceptance or that he was good enough.”

Josie Santana said she knew Daniel was troubled but always tried to support him and show him love and affection.

“I’m not sure what his demons were, but something snapped and it’s tragic,” she said.

Family members said the influence of drug abuse and addiction can’t be overstated.

“The truth is that it altered his head, his mind, his thinking, paranoia,” Edward Santana said. “It’s going on all over Santa Fe. It’s been going on for years everywhere. I don’t know what to say.”

Methamphetamine has played a role in recent shootings in Santa Fe.

Francisco Javier Lino-Gutierrez, 29, was shot and killed in late June by a Santa Fe police officer after reportedly shooting at a woman in De Vargas Park. The gun was handed to him by 20-year-old Kalin Addison, who told police she had consumed methamphetamine the morning of the shooting.

Frank Pete, 50, was killed in January and was believed to be selling methamphetamine in the Las Palomas apartment complex. He was shot following a drug deal, according to an arrest warrant affidavit unsealed in March.

David Hernandez, 24, was killed early April at the South Capitol Rail Runner train station after a haggle over the price of methamphetamine turned sour, witnesses told police in April.

(22) comments

Francisco Carbajal

Chris Mechels, here you again ranting. Disrespecting our police officer's with no justification or merits in Santa Fe based on a baseless and negative "curriculum" agenda that you cannot mitigate will go nowhere. Regardless on how much you rant about the way our New Mexico Law Enforcement Officer's receive their police academy training, the LEA Basic Police Officer Training Program fits into the universally LEO Training and Curriculum Models from throughout the nation as we speak. So, why do you continue to disrespect our LEO's daily. You should be chastised and scolded for being so mean-spirited towards our "Thin Blue Line." Stay in your lane and stop being anti-police towards our LE community. Shame on you!

Chris Mechels

Francisco, as usual you don't know what you're talking about, so shut up. The LEA does NOT fit national standards, which BTW is IADLEST. Look it up on the web. The LEA went off the IADLEST standards back in 2003, when Governor Richardson broke the independence of the LEA. We are hoping to get the LEA back on the LEA path soon... See how much you don't know???

Francisco Carbajal

Chris Mechels, are you okay? Do you need some comfort and a hug? Definitely, if you are in need of counseling, please reach out to the closet social worker and get some help for your anger management issues and other possible mental disorders that you may be diagnosed for. They can refer you to a psychologist to conduct a mental health evaluation on your poor mental status and disorientation process that you are experiencing. Take care of yourself, Chris. Love Francisco.

Chris Mechels

The 2nd to last line in my earlier message should read "back on the IADLEST path".

Khal Spencer

I wish every New Mexico high school student were given this article to read as a warning of what goes down when you get into hard drugs like meth. Maybe a few might think better of throwing their young lives (and other people's) away. As this young man's tragic descent shows, its hard to come back even if you want to.

Pam Walker

Totally tired of the New Mexican trying to place the Officers in a negative light. Every single one of these incidents were justified shootings. This last one was a fence post that could easily have bashed a head in. After all he had just killed his Mother, do you really think he was going to be easy on the Officers. The families immediately blame drugs for the way the person was acting. If you knew they were on drugs then why weren't you trying to get them help instead of letting them be a danger to society. More beneficial to sue after the fact isn't it.

Mark Ortiz

Wow, look at you all nestled in you glass house. I assume you came down from high above and was either at each shooting or illegally obtained each and every police report. But with people like you who consider their opinions and feelings to be facts, come a dime a dozen. I will say, without any first hand knowledge, in my opinion, the SFPD officer who shot Francisco Javier Lino-Gutierrez more than likely saved lives and it's sad the officer was faced with that decision. As far as addiction issues and you really not knowing whether families in these stories did try and get their loved ones help, one might say, there for the grace of God go I.

Chris Mechels

This pattern of police killing those involved in a domestic disturbance is far too common in New Mexico, and inexcusable. Typically, those killed are not a threat to the community at large, so patience and management of the crisis is called for.

However, our cops here in Santa Fe, SFPD and SF Sheriff, get the worst training in the state; 667 hours vs over 1,000 hours at Las Cruces; and part of the shortcoming is in Physical Fitness and Defensive tactics.

Cops who don't have confidence in their physical fitness and ability to disarm the suspect are likely to get scared and kill the suspect. We need to revamp our training, and reform it. The current curriculum was illegally installed in 2013 and has served to create the current "shoot first" attitude of Santa Fe cops.

One thing that could be done, immediately; a change to the incentive system. Stop giving shooter cops a (minimum) 3 days off with pay. Start giving them a minimum of 3 days off without pay. Right there, the number of shooting would decline. Question is: do we REALLY care enough to take on the cops, and their union, to reduce the violence.? If not, its just going to get worse. Bad training and bad incentives have produced this problem, and must be addressed.

The current Mayor and SFPD Chief have been shown NOT to address this problem; so they need to be replaced.

Mary Ellen Gallegos

Thank you and may I add, that there should be rehabilitation centers that are affordable with options to choose from. I've always said that addiction should be treated like Cancer with all the resources they need to get better. After all, alcoholism is a Cancer, spreading like wild fire. Maybe do away with some liquor stores or stop selling alcohol at Walgreens, which are only selling large bottle! I believe the Gateway Drug is "Alcohol!" Alcohol is glamorized, and accepted and you will die if you don't have it, literally!

Carmela Baca

So much empathy for this murderer and none for the victim, his own mother who was stabbed multiple times. How in the world can you blame the police for responding to this violent crime in the manner they did? Then blame the mayor and the police chief? That's a new low. Volunteer with the PD and do a ride along. Pick an area with the highest calls. It'll be interesting to see where you stand then.

Annette Martinez

Totally agree!!

Mark Ortiz

SMH, Ride along huh? Sure, it'll give one a sliver of insight but this is not some cure all for people who are skeptical of law enforcement. That's like asking you to spend the night with a junkie so you'll grow some empathy.

That being said, prayers go out to Delia Cervantes.

Carmela Baca

Mark Ortiz, your analogy is so pathetic. Clearly you lack empathy if you cannot feel bad for the victim, the mother, who was violently killed by her own son.

Annette Martinez

Are you kidding me?? Your ignorance on this topic is mind blowing. “Those killed are typically not a threat to the community at large.” Didn’t this man just brutally kill his mother? Yet, he wasn’t a threat? Oh yeah, and let’s give a cop 3 days leave without pay for saving our community. How about you and the New Mexican really focus on the the main problem which is the drugs and crime in our community. Not the police!!

I truly am disgusted that this story was even written! What about the true victim in all this? His mother!!! Let’s do a real story about how a mothers life was violently taken due to the drug problems in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas.

Oh but wait Chris, you would rather blame the cops and give them 3 days off without pay for protecting the community without even knowing everything that took place. I love how the people looking from the outside in always know what should be done and know all the answers. Since they need to be replaced, does that mean you will be running? It’s probably a better platform for you than the New Mexican.

Spencer Ralston

Well said Annette!

Carmela Baca

Well said Annette! 👍

Denise Jimenez


Chris Mechels

Annette you know nothing. I've been working on the police training for some 7 years, with some success. The training curriculum was illegally trashed in December 2013, and took out Community Policing, adding in "Officer Survival" and shooting at vehicles. All without the required public input. This made the police violence even worse than before. Incentive structures are a management tool, and work. Running your mouth does nothing... BTW, his mother is NOT "the community at large". Do you know the difference?

Annette Martinez

You’re bragging about doing it for 7 years? Seriously? That is just a start in the real world of training and support. If you’re so passionate about this, what have you done to change it and make a difference in our community? You’re complaining about a training curriculum that was trashed in 2013 yet it’s 2021. Hello? That was 8 years ago before you were even working on police training with “some success.” Until you are very successful at what you do, I would caution you to question what people know. You would be surprised! Also, of course I know his mother isn’t the community at large. Once again, your ignorance is glaring! As I said earlier, I look forward to you running for Mayor instead of just running your mouth with your “somewhat successful” 7 years of experience. .

Diego Mondragon


Richard Reinders

Chris, maybe dispatch should call you first and let you be the guy in front of a deranged perp with a fence post, knife or pistol. You can show them how to do it first hand. Nothing like on the job training. Its easy to say how it should be done until your in the middle of an adrenalin pumping encounter. I agree training helps but the heat of the moment dictates.

Mary Ellen Gallegos

Daniel was a victim of drug addiction, Meth and alcohol is a toxic mix! He was a beautiful Soul and he is going to missed. He was always with his Mother, around town, they were always together, and they had to go together as well! The way they went tragic, but now, they are in no more pain, they went back home and will be facing their maker, allow God to judge them, and maybe keep your opinions to yourself. A little compassion goes a long way! Rest in Peace Delia and Daniel, Love you both!

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