New Mexico State Police evidence photos

Evidence photos show the air gun recovered from the scene where Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies fatally shot Nathaniel Roybal.

Nathaniel Jason Roybal, fatally shot by Santa Fe County deputies late the night of June 23, had been armed with an air gun, a New Mexico State Police investigator says in a new report.

Videos from the deputies’ dashboard cameras, first obtained by KRQE-TV three weeks after the incident, show Roybal, 32, waving a gun out the window of a black Ford Ranger after leading deputies on a pursuit to Siler Road. He appears to fire a shot, prompting deputies to fire on the vehicle. When the gunshots stop, Roybal gets out of the bullet-ridden truck, drops his gun and begins running.

The deputies — identified by state police as Leonardo Guzman, Jacob Martinez and Cpl. Chris Zook — fire again, this time killing him, the videos show.

A state police investigator wrote in the newly released report he found a Sig Sauer P226 air pistol, built to fire pellets, lying on the ground next to the pickup Roybal had been driving.

The report was one of several that state police released late last week in response to a public records request.

Investigators found 40 9 mm shell casings at the scene, according to the reports. The black Ranger, which state police have said was reported stolen, had bullet holes in the windshield, back windows, tailgate and cab.

A “loaded syringe with possible heroin” also was lying on the ground.

Jay Winton, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent and salesman at the Outdoorsman in Santa Fe, said air guns often resemble firearms but are functionally incompatible.

“They use compressed gas to fire nonlethal projectiles, often for training purposes,” Winton said. “Most of them are made out of relatively light metal that couldn’t even contain the power of a bullet.”

While they look similar to firearms, Winton added, air guns often make a different popping sound.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Monday the threat law enforcement officers perceive at a scene determines whether they decide to respond with force.

“Why would anyone point a firearm, lethal or not, at armed officers instead of simply complying?” he asked.

The incident was Roybal’s second encounter with deputies that day.

On the morning of June 23, a woman reported to emergency dispatchers he was waiting outside her home in a black Ford truck and that he had pointed a handgun at her. She accused Roybal of often stalking her at her home.

A sheriff’s office report said deputies responding to the woman’s call followed Roybal, who led them on a reckless, high-speed chase and tried to strike a patrol vehicle with the truck. A commander with the agency called off the chase, the report said.

The sheriff’s office put out an alert for Roybal and the black truck, and Guzman encountered him hours later on West Alameda Street, leading to the deadly shooting.

Nathaniel Jason Roybal has an identical twin brother, Nathan Roybal, who shared the same birthday and features, the state police reports say. This delayed the agency’s identification of the man killed by deputies; officials had to confirm his identity by his tattoos.

“Based on the investigation, it was noted that Nathan and Nathaniel both used each other’s names during their contacts with law enforcement,” one report says.

When a state police agent went to inform Nathan Roybal of his brother’s death, the report says, he said he already knew his brother had been killed and told the investigator to leave.

(43) comments

Khal Spencer

Here is the SFPD policy document on use of force (10/30/2020 document).

https://www.santafenm.gov/archive_center/document/20621

Angel Ortiz

“Why would anyone point a firearm, lethal or not, at armed officers instead of simply complying?” The individual presented himself as a danger to the public and the police officers. He decided his fate with his actions and drug abuse.

Francisco Carbajal

After viewing all the blogging comments about this officer-related shooting that resulted in a death, some of the commentaries do not meet the threshold of "common sense." For example, here we have the Lupe Molina's & Chris Mechel's who claim to be subject matter expertise (SME's) in chiming in on a officer-related shooting investigation is not worthy to listen, altogether. Like Mr. Don Christy mentioned about allowing the officer-related shooting investigation to take it's natural course and let's see on where it ends up in the District Attorney's Office. Yet, I do think the Lupe Molina's and Chris Mechels do need a refresher course of "common sense" training for assisting their ignorance and arrogance attributes in the final days to come. Poor Molina and Mechels, they appear to go nowhere and lost in the YouTube game boards or make believe video games.

Donald Christy

Someone with common sense.

Chris Mechels

It seems you are retired Sergeant Donald Christy of the SFPD. That explains a lot.... and establishes what "common sense" means to you. BTW, when you comment "just the facts", it implies you have some "facts" to rely on., which you won't share.

Khal Spencer and I are retired LANL staff members, where having "facts" means you can back them up, unlike your "facts". Some facts you should share are SFPD policies, and how violation of those policies are dealt with. That would be useful. Care to share?? It took me over a year to get the SFPD policies online, and even so they are pretty hard to find. https://www.santafenm.gov/archive_center/20#cat-9565 buried under "Professional Standards", where you are sure NOT to look. Your turn to share now Sergeant Christy...

Richard Reinders

Just show some respect and say thanks to Don for serving the public and risking his life as policeman until he retired.

Lupe Molina

Oh look. Two cops backing each other up when they've been caught doing something wrong. What a surprise...

Richard Reinders

I don’t think a cop has to take fire before shooting and the amount of rounds fired once the a gun is pointed at them is immaterial. They shoot until they are positive the perp can’t shoot back.

Angel Ortiz

[thumbup]

Donald Christy

It amazes me from you “experts” on law enforcement when none of you have worked in this profession. Easy for all of you to criticize when you read books on the subject or watched videos. The majority of you have no “facts” on each of these cases other than your “personal opinions”. Let the legal system work and butt out. You are doing nothing more than stirring the pot which Santa Fe does not need. As for any of you wanting to sit on any of these boards with your narrow mindness and “guilty by video” mentality I see why they have no interest in addressing your thoughts. The SFPD, SFCSO & NMSP are all trying to do their best and that is to protect you citizens which also includes themselves. All I am saying is hear all the facts of each case first before you post your personal opinions.

Khal Spencer

Condescending fellow, aren't you? If you don't like the comments, ignore them. What are your bona fides?

Donald Christy

Definitely not condescending. Just stating facts.

Khal Spencer

When you tell people to "butt out" you deserve to be heckled.

Chris Mechels

Donald, just why do you think that YOU have the facts??? I've been working on police training reforms, mostly at the LEAB, since 2014, and haven't seen you, ever. When I compare SFPD training with others, and comment on their policies, I have the documents to support it. What do you have??

Lupe Molina

Lol. Glad your not on the force anymore, but you'd likely lose your job over these comments anyway. You’ve represent your past profession well. Thanks for all this.

Khal Spencer

I leave the panty wearing to you, Don. If you want to disagree that is fair game. Telling people to butt out is no different then me telling you to butt out. That's obviously not the point of a discussion board.

Lupe Molina

Lol. So alternatively we should trust only people who have done the job so we can only get their bias. I pay for these services and watch then implemented poorly every day. I do have a say, dude. And if I don't have "facts" its because they haven't been released promptly or properly. Let the legal system do the work?! So we can have another mistrial when a cop doesn't show up or loses evidence? You're perspective is exactly why most Americans are done with the thin blue line BS! Police unions have pulled the wool over taxpayers eyes too long.

Mark Ortiz

Actually with the Constitution and within the SFNM commenting guidelines, if I want to come on here and say I believe Nathaniel was possessed by Satan Claus and it would be better if the SFPD shot bouquets of roses out of the firearms, that's my right Joe Friday. If you want facts, cops aren't above being scrutinized AND they don't ALWAYS get it right BUT I'll give you this, I don't know what happened in this shooting. Lighten up with your blue wall rhetoric.

Khal Spencer

Perfectly stated, Mark. As residents and taxpayers we have the right to ask hard questions and be critical. But as you say, we don't have all the facts in and many of us here, even while asking hard questions, are not hanging the cops out to dry. Just asking whether there could be a better way to deal with these incidents. Plus, we all bring our personal opinions with us. That just goes with the territory or we wouldn't be offering our $0.02. That's just our jobs as citizens, suggestions we STFU notwithstanding.

Actually, firing a high pressure firehouse filled with quick thickening rubber cement might be interesting. But I like the bouquets of roses idea too.

A Ortega

Bravo Don

!! Thank you SFPD,SFCSO and NMSP for protecting and serving. Thank you for putting your life on the line daily to keep us safe,

Francisco Carbajal

Mr. Donald Christy, On-Spot! Good commentary. Definitely, I agree with your assessment of the entire scenario taking place relating to profession in the law enforcement field. Press On!

Lupe Molina

The officers seemed to have acted justifiably under the current rules of engagement. But honestly, those rules are effed up. They knew this guy had mental health problems. Heck, he backed his truck up for half a mile before he pulled this stunt. I don't fault the cops on the scene but if our LE organizations were better trained and prepared, this wouldn't likely have ended in suicide by cop. But, that's the disservice we provide to cops in our community: low pay, bad training, and excuses when things go wrong. I don't blame the individual cops but I do blame the bosses. Mendoza and Padilla are subpar managers. Us and their subordinates deserve better.

Khal Spencer

Given the cops knew this guy and that he had mental health and drug problems. Still, the deceased was apparently starting to fire rounds (or so they believed) in the middle of the city. So this brought the whole situation up a notch or ten. And its a city, so its not just the officers at risk.

We are trying to put a fire out after someone has drenched the room with gasoline and lit the match. Seems if we are to do better, we need better social services to reach out to men like the deceased, better training, qualifications, and salary for our officers, excellent "after action reviews/lessons learned" in a non-punitive manner, and fewer events like this happening in the first place. AFAIC, once we get to the point where that standoff occurred, it was damage control rather than damage prevention.

And that's not to relieve the individual of his responsibility to good citizenship. Most of us did not grow up with a silver spoon in our mouth. For several years when I was a teen, a Family Services Social Worker was my best friend. Well, I had a social worker. But regardless of how we grew up, few of us ended up in a stolen truck, messing with drugs, and brandishing a gun at the cops. Maybe this is a story every kid in the area should be told in school.

Chris Mechels

Lupe, I like your comments. However, there ARE some bad cops, and Guzman seems to be one of them. He had a very questionable "kill" in 2017, in Eldorado, which should have been punished, as he violated three SFPD policies; Pursuit, Use of Force, and Body Cams. He also has other indications of erratic behavior such as;

https://www.facebook.com/Santafepolice/photos/a.214530895297998/1242959392455138 We'd all be safer if Guzman lost his Certification, and gun.

Mark Ortiz

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said Monday the threat law enforcement officers perceive at a scene determines whether they decide to respond with force.

And boy did they, 40 shots in like 10 seconds. They sure responded.

“Why would anyone point a firearm, lethal or not, at armed officers instead of simply complying?” he asked.

Because he was high Sheriff. Jesus, that's a real question?

Khal Spencer

The police are not required to take incoming from someone who decides to be an armed drug addict.

Mark Ortiz

Oh that's quite clear.

Mark Ortiz

Nail, meet hammer.

Khal Spencer

Not obvious from the video** that this was an air gun. When you appear to be shooting at the cops, they are gonna shoot back. Also, I concur with Jay. That gun looks like the real thing, which is a problem when it gets drawn into a police confrontation. I had a realistic looking Crossman revolver that looked like a medium frame 357 magnum back in college. But I never waved it at anyone, let alone pointed it at a cop. I guess the realism is a selling point but one has to assume the owner is not using it for nefarious purposes.

** https://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/video-shows-what-led-up-to-a-deadly-deputy-involved-shooting-in-santa-fe/

Khal Spencer

Oh, that Crossman revolver I mentioned was a CO2 powered pellet gun. It was similar to the one shown here as the "Crossman Triple Threat". From 20-30 feet away and looking at the business end, that is going to look like the real thing.

https://www.crosman.com/product/crosman-triple-threat-bb-177

Conjecturing, maybe if the police on the scene heard a "pop" rather than a "bang" it might have meant something. But it might have meant he was firing 22 shorts, I suppose.

The underlying issue here is that we have too many drug-addled people, many armed, doing dangerous and illegal things in New Mexico. You can second guess the immediate situation all you want, but the root causes are not being solved. But at the SHTF moment, if you point a "gun" at someone, and it looks just like a gun, its a threat of deadly force. As I conjectured earlier (since we are all playing armchair, Monday Morning Quarterback), it may well be that once the cops were in a Weaver (or similar defensive shooting) stance, they did not see him drop a gun even if we can on video review. I'll have to do an experiment. On cardboard, of course...

As my wife says, New Mexico is a mess.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Good points Khal. It's the running-away and unarmed reality that cannot be justified. Adam Toledo had his hands in the air and a weapon on the ground. 13-year-old unarmed boy, blasted.

Your well-aware, I'm all for more officers with more training and more pay, but, the whole "Dirty Harry" routine isn't working anymore.

Much respect, lost.

Khal Spencer

Chris Mechels has for a long time criticized our police training as long on deadly force and short on conflict resolution and he knows far more about it than I do. I wrote the AG once volunteering to be on the Police Academy Oversight Board. Never got a reply. I suspect those are "good old boy" positions. The offer still stands. I'll even get out my running shoes, learn to shoot a Glock (yuck) and do the training to understand it better.

Still, never having served in their shoes, I am reticent to rip the cops a new one, if you know what I mean.

Peace, and prayers (as well as some more worldly solutions) for our violent state.

Chris Mechels

Khal, I also volunteered to serve on the LEA Board, and spoke with Melissa Salazar, of Boards and Commissions in the Governor's office. She knew nothing about the LEA Board and its function or history. An IPRA request shows that all Citizen Board Members get "vetted" by the Department of Public Safety, so of course DPS gets to keep those critical of the DPS off the Board. The current two Citizen Board members are "safe". One of them, Monihan, has an illegal "Conflict of Interest", which seems ok because she's "safe". The Board Chair, AG Hector Balderas, is ok with all of this, because he does Politics, not Law. The only way to crack this nut is with a lawsuit, as the current curriculum is illegal. Interested??

Khal Spencer

If it is an IPRA/FOIA type lawsuit, would be nice to get NM-FOG or the ACLU involved. If it is a matter of police misconduct, I imagine it would take someone with standing. I've not been whacked over the head by the P.D. Ever. It would seem that the families of some of the folks who have loved ones who have been mistreated (to us a euphemism) by the P.D. should be lawyering up to sue the state on the grounds of inadequate vetting and training.

Brad Doubles

PMJ, it's not always that simplistic. If the perp had just raped a woman and is running from the police after just pointing a gun at them, is he not still a threat?

Why don't these guys just follow the commands of the police?? And NO pointing a weapon at police will go a long way towards de escalating the situation. In short, stop being stupid....

Prince Michael Jauregui

A man running away, is no longer a threat. If the decedent was shot in the back? Cowardly, cold-blooded murder - and this cannot go unanswered.

Pam Walker

Sir, a man running away may not be a threat to the Officers but IS a threat to the public. This is suicide by cop plain and simple. Not unusual at all and totally selfish on the part of the one that raised a weapon. These airsoft guns look exactly like a real firearm unless you are within a few feet. Not just blowing smoke here. I retired from Corrections. Do your research like you almost always do and it will become very clear about what happened here.

Prince Michael Jauregui

This does not take a PHD in Criminology: Air-gun found near truck. Therefore, now we have an unarmed man, running away from deputies - thus no immediate threat to officer. Again, when an unarmed person is shot in the back: Cold-blooded cowardly murder, and all killers -with or without badges- must be brought to Justice.

Retired from "Corrections"? Good for you, and "Corrections".

Chris Mechels

Pam, you should note in the video that they KNEW this guy, and called him by name. He had mental issues and had been in and our of our jails since 2007. He had NO history of shooting at folks, and cops; and a long history of being a nuisance. He didn't "point the weapon at the cops" he was "firing" upward, into the air. Then, he placed the weapon on the ground and took off. He was not threat to the public, and they knew that. He was executed. Officer Guzman is a known killer, and previously , with SFPD, executed a man in the Eldorado shooting. He should have been terminated, instead joined the SF Sheriff's office. He needs to be Terminated and put on Trial, for both shootings. Guzman was "trained" at the LEA in class #186, perhaps the worst class ever, as the whole training staff had been fired by Jack Jones, who wrecked the place.

Alexandra Lynch

This man had shot at the cops, then ran. They knew he was willing to shoot, and had no way of knowing if he had another gun on him. If this had happened on my street I would be very grateful to the cops.

Alexandra Lynch

How could they know if he had another gun on him? Running away from the cops but towards nearby citizens. I think the cops were totally justified. Until cops are armed with non-lethal weapons that will stop a suspect as surely as a bullet, this is the best we can do.

Chris Mechels

Alexandra they KNEW this guy, and had been running into him since 2007, as he went into, and out of, jail. His mental issues were never addressed, and of course he was irritating, but, from his history, he was NOT dangerous. Our society fails such people, esp here in NM. The famous James Boyd killing by APD was another such one, killed for being a nuisance.

Khal Spencer

The James Boyd shooting was outrageous. He had two little knives and was not an immediate threat to anyone when he was shot. He had been violent in the past but past actions don't matter, I suppose, unless its a violent dog being shot. So James Boyd was treated like a violent dog.

I don't think the Boyd incident is comparable to someone who looks like they are wielding a semiauto handgun. Still, you are right. Our society deals with these people when the SHTF and then its not easy to de-escalate nor is there the benefit of lots of time on one's side. There's no easy answer here. Its a free country and folks are free to destroy their lives. Then we deal with the fallout.

My snark with Donald Christy notwithstanding, we put cops in impossible situations and then wonder why they have to make the decisions that they make in split second incidents. The failures start long before the gunfire begins.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.