New Mexico State Police on Tuesday named Patrick Ficke as the Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed 45-year-old Edward Daniel Santana following Santana’s violent attack on his mother at her Tesuque home this month.
Ficke, who has worked for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office for about 10 months, spent 10 years with the Albuquerque Police Department and two years as an officer in the village of Bosque Farms, state police said in a news release.
His time with the Albuquerque agency ended with his resignation in 2013 following his wife’s allegations of domestic violence. Veronica Ficke filed additional complaints against him in subsequent years, but the cases were all dismissed.
In 2010, a lawsuit accusing Ficke and other Albuquerque officers of civil rights violations during an unsuccessful drug raid on a man’s business went to federal court but ultimately was dismissed as well.
News stories in recent weeks shined a positive light on the deputy.
Ficke was credited in a KRQE-TV story in late June with saving the life of a 1-year-old child. The deputy had pulled over a vehicle driving erratically on Interstate 25 and discovered the driver’s child was choking. He successfully performed an infant Heimlich maneuver, the news station reported.
In early July, KOB-TV reported Ficke had rescued a woman who had fallen from a horse in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Ficke encountered a much different scene just before 8 a.m. July 7 at No. 1 Entrada Capulin, where he and other deputies found 67-year-old Delia Cervantes lying on a patio bench.
A family member said her son, 45-year-old Santana, had stabbed her multiple times with a knife, state police said in the news release.
The deputies moved the bench holding Cervantes to a safer location away from the home, where emergency responders provided medical aid and took her to a local hospital.
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office reports said Cervantes died later that day from her injuries as she was undergoing surgery.
Meanwhile, Santana was still standing on the patio, covered in blood, the state police news release said. Deputies and a state police officer who arrived at the home saw him stab himself in the neck with a piece of glass from a broken bottle.
He began walking in and out of the home and then walked down the driveway “aggressively” toward the officers.
“Santana picked up a wooden fence post off the ground, walked towards the officers while yelling, ‘just kill me’ and other vulgar obscenities,” the news release said.
He ignored the officers’ commands to drop the fence post and continued moving toward them “while bleeding profusely from the neck.”
Suddenly, Santana raised the fence post over his head “in a striking motion and lunged” toward a deputy. The deputy, who was not identified in the news release, fired a Taser at him, but the weapon was ineffective.
Ficke then fired his gun at Santana at least once, hitting him.
Santana fell to the ground but attempted to get back up. Another deputy stunned him a second time, state police said in the news release.
Officers rendered aid to Santana, but he died at the scene from his injuries.
State police reports of the incident released Monday describe a similar series of events.
Neither state police nor the sheriff’s office has released deputies’ dashboard camera or body camera videos of the shooting.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Juan Ríos wrote in an email Tuesday the deputies who deployed their service Tasers were Blaine Lattin and Ian Burr.
While Santana’s family members have said he struggled with drug addiction in the months leading up to the grisly attack on his mother, it remains unclear what prompted the stabbing. A state police report said a witness also saw Santana strangle his mother with a belt that morning.
“No motive has been established in relation to the homicide of the stabbing victim,” Ríos wrote in an email.
The spokesman also wrote that Ficke was placed on a standard three-day administrative leave after the shooting and has since returned to duty.
Veronica Ficke, the deputy’s ex-wife and a former detective for the Albuquerque Police Department, alleged in a 2013 police report he had been at a brewery with friends and came home “very intoxicated.” When he received a call to go into work, she protested, the report said, and the two began arguing. As the fight escalated, she alleged, Patrick Ficke hit her in the nose three times with a phone and began to squeeze the back of her neck so tightly she felt pain going down her left shoulder.
The case later was dismissed in state District Court due to speedy trial violations.
Veronica Ficke filed petitions in 2014 and 2016 seeking protections from domestic violence, alleging Patrick Ficke had made threats to her by email and text and that the two had several verbal altercations, court records show.
She also filed a lawsuit against him in 2016 seeking damages for the domestic violence case, but the civil complaint was dismissed due to the statute of limitations for the crime.