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Local residents Eric Romero and Allie Romero talk with a New Mexico State Police investigator July 7 near the scene of the fatal shooting in Tesuque.

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.

(7) comments

Francisco Carbajal

The objective of news reporting relating to officer-involved shootings in Santa Fe has no boundaries and limitations relating to what is true and fact in the first place. The Santa Fe New Mexican chooses to publish news stories that lacks merits and is worthy attributes to view in the first place. I am not surprised with this one.

Mark Ortiz

Blind allegiance, regardless of what law enforcement does, is extremely dangerous and foolish Rev.

Chris Mechels

As in the recent Siler Road shooting, the first "story" put out by the police and NMSP is typically false in major ways. The Dash Cams and Body Cams are released after a time, when the news is old news. The Cams reveal the lies. Why would we expect the cops to tell the truth, when they are not punished for lying? Like our Legislature, they tell the "truth" when its convenient, or to confuse us. Needed, punishment for lies, in the afterlife, but that myth doesn't deter anymore. I suggest empowering the Grand Jury, as it once was. But, not likely to happen..

Chris Mechels

If you look closely at Ficke's background, he should not be a police officer. He was charged with 3 felonies in 2013, and left APD under a cloud. Being charged with a felony is reason for suspension/dismissal. It seems he would have been convicted but the DA decided not to prosecute the case, and just let it rot. A deal had been made. After waiting for years, he sought dismissal for failure to timely prosecute, and this was granted. His ex-wife immediately filed a tort suit, for the 2013 incident, but it was dismissed as "time barred". He got off on a technicality. Having cleared the felony charges, he was employed by Bosque Farms PD, which has very low standards. Then, off to SF Sheriff, which also has very low standards. Ficke should have lost his Certification in 2013, permanently. The question is; why didn't he?

The New Mexican did its job in reporting his record, which is readily available on CaseLookUp. Ficke shows the NM "Pass the Trash" program, which is openly talked about in LEA Board meetings. Troubled cops get passed around, and keep their certifications. In far too many cases, such as Ficke, this leads to tragedy.

As for the current case, and in many others, such as the Eldorado killing by Guzman, the obvious weapon is Pepper Spray, but it seems to hang forgotten on their belt. Poor training and policy, and the SF Sheriff ranks at the very bottom of both, even worse than SFPD. They both get the worst police training in the state.

Mark Ortiz

So not mutually exclusive, hero cop, wife beater (who's also a cop). He wouldn't be the first. Please, you blindly allegiant law enforcement supporters really can't deny this, if you are going to be honest. The stress caused by the job coupled with the machismo of the culture (failure to seek psychological help/failure to genuinely provide help) causes higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, domestic violence, post traumatic stress disorder, etc. Sadly, it shouldn't have to be this way. Lowering the stress level of police should be a priority, speaking of police reform.

P.S. the SFNM does this with innocent civilians. I've read of people murdered, or accidental death and the reporter drudges up completely unrelated arrests.Why, I couldn't say.

Richard Reinders

Terrible article, what is the purpose of bringing up something personal on the the officer from 8 years ago, is the paper trying to stir up conflict between the police and citizens. Besides you have run this story everyday since the shooting, shame on the New Mexican.

Mark Ortiz

Is the "conflict" you speak of really on the media? Possibly some, but isn't the bigger issue behavior like Aurora, Colo., police officer John Haubert? If you really think it's just bad PR, you are being disingenuous. The SFNM did include his heroics which I'm glad they did. If law enforcement agencies started releasing clips of them doing really good police work to the media it might offset some of the atrocities but with some of them defying policy to use body cameras, maybe we are missing out on the good they do.

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