Josie Santana said she knew her nephew Edward “Daniel” Santana wasn’t a saint.

When he was shot and killed by a Santa Fe County deputy the morning of July 7, after brutally attacking his mother at her home in Tesuque, he was battling a drug addiction, his aunt and other family members said in an interview last week.

They believe substance use had addled his mind.

They argued, however, that 45-year-old Daniel Santana had cut his own throat before he was tased by one deputy and, shortly after, fatally shot by another. The family members questioned whether Santana was posing a danger to deputies when they fired on him.

The state Office of the Medical Investigator has not yet released an autopsy on Daniel Santana, and neither New Mexico State Police nor the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has released video of the shooting from the deputies’ dashboard and body cameras. But a state police spokesman confirmed in an email Daniel Santana cut his throat before he was shot.

In an initial news release on the shooting, Officer Dusty Francisco said Daniel Santana “began to walk towards the officers in an aggressive manner” while holding a fence post. When asked in an email last week how Santana was able to show aggression if he had a self-inflicted injury, Francisco replied the shooting was still under investigation.

“NMSP is still actively investigating this incident to determine the totality of the circumstances surrounding the use of force against Mr. Santana,” Francisco wrote. “This will include a determination of the cause and manner of his death by the Office of the Medical Investigator, which will help determine what role, if any, the injury to Mr. Santana’s neck played in his death.”

Santana stabbed his mother, 67-year-old Delia Cervantes, causing fatal injuries. He was still standing on the patio of her home, near where she was lying on a bench and bleeding from her injuries, when Santa Fe County deputies arrived in response to a call about the attack.

Josie Santana said Monday the incident was horrifying and complex. Still, she said she hopes the truth comes out about why a law enforcement officer shot her nephew.

“If it was confirmed by state police [that his neck was cut], then the lapel video should be public now, too,” she said.

Daniel Santana’s death was the third fatal shooting by law enforcement in the Santa Fe area in a two-week period.

On the morning of June 23, Santa Fe police Sgt. Bradley Lopez fatally shot Francisco Javier Lino-Gutierrez, 29, of Lamy on Old Santa Fe Trail. Lino-Gutierrez was a suspect in a shooting that morning at De Vargas Park.

Late that night, sheriff’s deputies Leonardo Guzman and Jacob Martinez and Cpl. Chris Zook shot and killed 32-year-old Nathan Roybal on Siler Road.

The sheriff’s office had put out an alert for Roybal and the black Ford Ranger he was driving after he was accused earlier in the day of pointing a gun at a woman on Lopez Lane and leading deputies on a reckless, high-speed chase, according to a report of the incident and statements by state police.

Guzman, a former Santa Fe police officer who was cleared in the fatal shooting of a suspected car thief in 2017, encountered Roybal in the stolen Ranger around 11 p.m. June 23 on West Alameda Street, state police said.

Roybal led the deputy to Siler Road, sometimes while driving in reverse, until he stopped the truck at the intersection of Rufina Court.

A series of dashboard camera videos of the incident released last week shows deputies ordered Roybal to get out of the truck, but he didn’t comply.

Instead, he waved a gun out the window and fired a shot. The deputies then fired about 20 shots back at the Ford Ranger, the video shows, riddling it with bullet holes.

Roybal waited a few moments after the firing stopped and then got out of the truck, immediately dropped the gun and began running across Siler Road, the videos show. The three deputies fired again, fatally striking him as he was fleeing with his back to them.

State police spokesman Ray Wilson has described a different series of events leading to the fatal shooting. Wilson wrote, “Roybal got out of the vehicle armed with the handgun. Roybal brandished the handgun towards deputies, who again fired at Roybal. Roybal was struck by gunfire and succumbed to his injuries.”

Wilson has not explained the discrepancies between his description of the shooting and what is shown in the deputies’ videos.

(11) comments

Jay Roybal

Seems a lot of people do not remember seeing what people are capable of when a person is on drugs.... plenty of video out there to see the superhuman strength and insanity that ensues from it. How about we blame the drug use....

Jay Roybal

Chris Mechels. You are completely wrong. Guzman tried everything he could to get the guy to comply. When the clown jumped in a police unit with Guzman fighting him inside the unit for a long time trying to subdue him, this "angel" (as you would have people believe) then put the car in drive and rammed a tree crushing Guzman. Guzman was left with little option. You are full of self righteous innuendo with little real world experience and no knowledge of the truth of most of these matters. You must be a bot to cause turmoil.

Joe Brownrigg

I keep re-reading the last sentence of this article...

Khal Spencer

I'm not saying we don't need more expansive police training, but I do get sick and tired of people always blaming the cops when the cops have to constantly deal with violent, armed, drug-adddled members of society. We are responsible for our actions and choices.

As I said in a comment in the earlier article, it is possible that the cops might not have even seen the gun fall to the ground. It was dark and my suspicion is if they were using a Weaver Stance** that may have obscured the target's lower extremities. That said, it sure would be nice to get a full and impartial investigation released.

** https://www.policemag.com/342106/grip-trigger-control-and-aiming

John Cook

Sure, Khal. The cops kill 1,000 people a year. Because they have to kill a man who cut his own throat and had a fence post in his hands. The poor dears. They will keep killing indiscriminately so long as they have enough lap dogs to excuse them.

Khal Spencer

Stuff it up your you know what, John, if you want to call me a lap dog. We can kill off this conversation right now. We have a state with rampant drug use, where everyone and their dog has a gun, a violent culture, and low social and educational expectations. What can possibly go wrong?

John Cook

My, my. You seem to be barking.

Khal Spencer

Hey, you wanted to start with the insults.

Annette Martinez

What a ridiculous comment!! How many people do we have incarcerated currently in NM John? As Khal mentioned, we have a drug and crime infested state yet it’s the cops fault for protecting us from all these great law abiding citizens, right? Killing indiscriminately? What a joke!!! How dare the cops protect themselves and others from a man who just murdered his mother who was coming after everyone with a fence post. I’m thankful anyone would even choose to put their life on the line each and every day to protect people who don’t walk in their shoes and don’t walk into danger each and every day. Yet you have the nerve to call people lap dogs who excuse them? What a joke!!

Chris Mechels

Guzman should have been terminated, and charged, after the Eldorado killing. He had violated the SFPD Pursuit Policy and Use of Force Policy, and inserted himself into the car driven by the suspect, in violation of policy. This violation led directly to his killing the suspect. He had also turned off his Body Cam, violating another policy. Guzman was trained in LEA class #186, perhaps the worst class ever, as the LEA staff had been destroyed by Director Jack Jones in mid 2013. Ever since December 2013, the NM Police Training is using an illegal curriculum, illegal as to both content and process. The continuing violence is due to bad training.

Our Attorney General Hector Balderas is the Chair of the LEA Board, and condones all these violations. He should be indicted for Malfeasance, but who's to charge him.

Lee Vigil

This sounds horrific. Makes one very sad for this family. I hope they find peace. The police have some 'splaining to do and the video ought to clear things up.

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