New Mexico State Police are investigating a shooting involving a Santa Fe police officer that sent at least one person to the hospital.

The shooting occurred Sunday night at the Big R farm and ranch store on St. Michael's Drive, state police said.

"Officer OK, suspect injured. Details are limited," state police wrote on Twitter.

Santa Fe police Lt. Jose Gonzales had no comment, other than to say "a media release will be sent out at an appropriate time."

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(39) comments

Khal Spencer

Not sure its behind a paywall, but an article here on "What Would Efforts to Defund or Disband Police Forces Really Mean" in the New York Times.

Lupe Molina

For the record, the guy shot here stabbed two other people. So screww him, SFPD appear to have used appropriate use of force here.

Khal Spencer


Lee DiFiore

I love this hue and cry to defund the police and move the money to social service programs. Hundreds of billions of dollars (maybe trillions) have been invested in social service youth, mental health and community programs and, arguably, these issues are still epidemic. Several years back, law enforcement agencies adopted to active shooter situations. Part of that adaptation was/is for the first officer, regardless of assignment, to engage the shooter. Would you want to do that with only a handgun? A big part of law enforcement's problem in Santa Fe and NM is not too much policing it is that policing does not get sufficient resources to do the job adequately. Antiquated computer and communication systems, constant 20%

staffing vacancies and leadership selection based on who you know not what you know. What do you expect?

Amanda Sweeney

For anyone wanting more info here is the police hot sheet:

1-20-006555 OFFN B318 6/07/20 201590381 P ASSISTING AMBULANCE 000725 SAINT MICHAELS DR

18:47:44 Incident Report BIG R STORES '

Kinda seems like the New Mexican should have included this info in the story.

Kathy Riley

Why aren't comments to The New Mexican put in chronological order ?

Khal Spencer

The comments are in chronological order. The replies to individual comments follow the comments.

Peter Romero

I'm sure not having a police force in Sant Fe will help with criminal tourism. That's all will want to visit Santa Fe if we don't have police.

John Martinez

Once again, a lot of experts sitting at their computers. Martin Garcia is right. You want to find out what our officers deal with every day then put the keyboard down and call the PD or Sheriff's office and book a ride along. These Officers and Deputies go non-stop from the start of their shifts til the end of the shifts. They need be fully and properly equipped at all times to deal with any and all calls. What we should be asking for is to put more funding into professional development and ongoing training for our Officers and Deputies. This will create better Officers and Deputies.

Chris Mechels

I don't see comments on WHO investigates police shootings. Why do we accept that the State Police, itself involved in illegal shootings, "investigates" police shootings across the state? Mpls, and others, is looking at having the Attorney General investigate all police shootings. That would be a good start, but of course we would have to reform the Attorney General's office also, as here in NM its a political, not a legal, office.

The problems with having the State Police investigate a police shooting, in this case one of their own shootings, are amply on display at;

Mpls has their problems; ours are much worse. Our Governor shows no sign of recognizing THAT problem.

Khal Spencer

And, there are the police unions.

Dr. Michael Johnson

And SCOTUS......

Khal Spencer

That is a good read, thank you. Qualified immunity, police unions, and city governments that ignore paramilitary police forces and then....surprise, we have a problem!

The problem with simply disbanding the cops and then forming a new department is that unless you change the training, tactics, and the accountability, you get a variation on The Who's old refrain: "Meet the New Force, Same as the Old Force"

Martin Garcia

Well it sure didn’t take long for the anti police Monday morning Quarterbacks to show up. Without knowing the full story some people will assume the officer over used force. Let’s hear the whole story before over overreacting. For those that want to defund the police, wouldn’t you want a person protecting you or your family equipped and prepared versus someone who is under equipped? This is shameful.

Khal Spencer

In case you didn't actually read the comments, no one is Monday Quarterbacking last nights shooting. These comments are all going to the bigger, current events picture. I think, Mr. Garcia, we all know better than to offer comments on something where we know nothing about the particulars. Just glad the officer is OK and the suspect will live to sin again (I say sarcastically).

Robert Bartlett

To illustrate how insane the left has become, consider the scenario where Santa Fe has no police force.

Actually, we are as well prepared as any city. Homeowners own guns and can use them to eliminate any threat at home or while moving around town. It's the wild west. No police turn up to arrest the homeowner. No judge frees a criminal. No police turn up to stop a gun fight. Nobody brings a knife to a gun fight. Neighborhoods form teams to defend themselves.

It's insane. The left will rue the day they educated our children to hate the police and western civilization itself. Come November this madness will be rejected by the voters.

Khal Spencer

If anyone thinks we don't need a police department in these parts, they are delusional. Unless, of course, the Mayor and Council want to strap one on and respond to all the 911 calls.

Wasn't that long ago there was a major burglary at Big R, come to think of it.

Lupe Molina

Khal, most who support the disbanding and defunding of police are not asking for the total abolition of police. They're asking for money from the police budget to be moved to other social services and for the police department to be rebuilt, from the ground up, under new rules. The fact is, we don't need someone with a side-arm, rifle in the console, and shotgun in the trunk showing up to every fender bender or overdose. They're expensive. This militarization and the "when all you have is hammers..." mentality is killing ridiculous numbers of people. We all know how simply changing leadership and mission doesn't change a whole organization. There's institutional knowledge there that leaves an organization stuck in its ways. Hence this movement. Dismantle the organization and rebuild it with better principles.

Martin Garcia

So what would your recommendations be if an officer had only a sidearm versus an active shooter with rifle. Call and wait for backup for someone with the proper equipment?

Lupe Molina

At a car accident? Officers responding to active shooters should have rifles. But the personnel that get paid and trained to for SWAT situations shouldn't be the one's showing up to document damage of a quarter panel. Did you read the comment?

Khal Spencer

You don't get to pick and choose your calls.

Back in 1974 or 75 I was riding my motorcycle, in a drenching rain, from Rochester to Horseheads, NY. On the way down, riding along Seneca Lake on NY ,I saw one after another State Trooper car flying north, all lit up, at speeds one would not want to normally drive in the rain.

Turns out a Trooper responded to a rural call and was met by a point blank shotgun blast. Was able to return fire with his sidearm (most likely a 357 Magnum) and retreat to call for help. Now, what officer responding to "All units, I'm shot, shooter has a shotgun" would not want to have a long gun in rushing to that scene?

The trooper died, as I found out later that day. Got to Horseheads, soaking wet and ran into a couple Horseheads cops at, of course, the Dunkin Donuts. They filled me in.

So I prefer the cops have what they need for a SHTF call, but also the training and maturity to not use a hammer when a hammer is not the right tool.

Lupe Molina

Khal, the story you tell from the 70s in NY is gut wrenching. I feel awful for the family of that trooper and hope the perp is still rotting in jail, then rots in he**. I am not familiar with the case.

However, I will bring up a different case that maybe starts out a bit similarly: that of Tamir Rice. A call came across the line about a perp in a public park with a gun. Cops in a squad car speed to the scene and shoot the perp dead, too fast to realize the perp they just iced was a kid with a toy.

Maybe American police rush to the scene too often. I am willing to give the trooper in your story the benefit of the doubt (as I am for the cop in this case last night, at least until we have more info), maybe he was responding to an impending murder suicide and didn't see a choice but to engage. Rare as it is, those cases are too common anyway. If he had a rifle, maybe the perp would be dead instead. But maybe, if he had different training, he could have deescalated and both him and the perp (who maybe was having a mental breakdown) would still be alive. Maybe Tamir Rice would have been able to finish high school. I just think this false dichotomy of better armed or less misses a whole other dimension to this problem. Again, I think the solution is to tear down the old, tattered paradigm and replace it with something that isn't built on decades of iterative improvements and old ideologies about race, and build something new that better serves us all.

Khal Spencer

I recall the Tamir Rice shooting. Rather than opine here, I'll post a link to the Wikipedia narrative.

There is more than enough blame to go around in situations like that. I recall a similar incident a few months ago when a disturbed man with what turned out to be a pellet gun was shot and killed at a bus stop in Albuquerque.

I follow RE-AIM on Twitter, an organization that promotes gun safety. One of their recurrent themes, which I am sure resonates with police officers, is to show pictures of some Airsoft or pellet guns with their pink tips removed alongside real guns and asking "when a second counts, can you tell the difference?" The fact that we treat guns as toys is dangerous. In the case of the Tamir Rice shooting, the fact that Cleveland hired a cop who was declared unfit for duty in his previous job, not to mention, racism, created the perfect storm.

I'm truly not sure where to start but there is so much to fix that its kinda like the old question, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Although being a vegetarian, I don't eat elephants...

Khal Spencer

Oh, and another story, since I am full of them. A few years ago I was riding my mountain bike in Los Alamos. I could leave the house and be on a trail between some softball fields and the Middle School in a minute. Riding out one day, I saw some shadowy figures and saw that it was teens with what looked like black rifles. Right behind the Middle School. Took a closer look and saw the pink tips, but what could possibly go wrong? So I stopped them and suggested that they think carefully about where they were playing and make sure their Airsofts were, to others, obviously Airsofts. They agreed. Talked to the Police Chief about that and we both chuckled that we were lucky it was Los Alamos and that the instant assumption would not be "school shooter".

Sigh. Whether its Tamir Rice or kids playing with what looks like real guns, when you up the ante for failure, you get failure.

Khal Spencer

The Maslow's Handgun comment is a good point and has been addressed by folks like Radley Balco for a long time now ("Rise of the Warrior Cop") and more recently by Patrick Skinner, a middle aged guy who resigned from the CIA to become a police officer. Modern training goes to paramilitary response rather than peacekeeping. I don't know if you saw it, but Patrick just put an editorial in the Post.

The problem with having a fewer number of cops fully armed is that if there is a serious call, there will be a much longer response time because not all cops will be equipped to handle the situation. I think it is better to train the cops so that deescalation is a first response but that all sworn officers are equipped for what they might need, including the training and smarts to use a hammer when you need a hammer but use a psychological response when you need to de-escalate. Go read Patrick Skinner's piece as it is a breath of fresh air and does go to community policing.

I think we do need to address policing in the U.S. But I don't favor a knee jerk approach rather than an evolution guided by people who study the subject. Yeah, that makes me an elitist, I suppose. Not the first time I've been called that.

Lupe Molina

These are good arguments, Khal! Thanks! It seems like we're actually in pretty vigorous agreement about a lot of the concepts. We just seem to disagree on how to get there. But this isn't a knee jerk reaction. The idea of fundamentally changing how the police operate by dismantling the old organizational structure isn't a new concept. There are plenty of international examples, even from other developed countries. For many of us though, we've hears empty promises about these reforms for years. You want it to be slow and iterative, we've waited for that and the change isn't happening. That's why it makes sense to dismantle the current organizations and rebuild them with overlap with the current organization so there's no actual lapse in necessary policing.

Khal Spencer

It cannot be slow for obvious reasons, but I think it has to be measured. Camden disbanded its force and rebuilt it from scratch. That would be a good study. Albuquerque has been under a consent decree from the Federal government. That is another good study.

Public safety is important, but the public is not the enemy on the battlefield and the sooner our P.D.'s get that point, the better. But as I said, leadership counts. Not only political leadership, since Mayors and Councilors approve budgets and spending, but police leadership. Two examples.

One, it seems that people are shocked when cops respond as paramilitary units, but ignore tactics and training until the SHTF. Buffalo, for example. I was born and raised there.

Two, as we are finding out (see print edition) of the four cops who responded to the situation where George Floyd was killed, Chauvan was a 19 yr cop and a training officer while the other three were green rookies. Having that level of power differential almost guaranteed that Chauvan would not be challenged. So the onus is on the MPD to make sure its senior officers are outstanding. They failed.

I was in NROTC for two years in college and learned about the hazards of speaking out. On one summer cruise, I was in the Middie Club with a bunch of midshipment having beers when two junior officers got stinking drunk, took off all their clothes, poured pitchers of beer on the bar, and practiced "carrier landings" (sliding each other down the bar on their bare bums) in front of midshipmen, their dates, and their guests. I finally went up to the O Club and reported what was going on.

The following morning, I was called out of formation and identified as the midshipman who reported the officers. I didn't have a friend for the rest of that cruise and was at one point challenged to a fistfight. Got home and quit ROTC.

You cannot have that kind of intimidation if you expect subordinates to call senior people on their B.S. That is not news. Read Frank Serpico's story. That is the kind of cultural change we need, for starters.

Lupe Molina

But I also want to contest the idea that having fewer fully armed cops will delay response time. Many SWAT officers are often at home or on patrol when they get a truly dangerous call. In a department like ours, which claims to be understaffed, that might mean reporting back to a central point before deploying to the SWAT situation. If we were able scale back the budget so that all personnel were not armed with multiple weapons (which they can only use one at a time) and commit that money to a small, specialized rapid deployment force. I'd point to you the German Bundespolizei and their relationship with GSG9 as a loose example.

Lupe Molina

Khal, Frank Serpico and your story demonstrates why the concept of the "thin blue line" is a serious issue here. To me, you cannot dismantle that cultural construct through iterative improvements. It requires a reinvention of the system.

Martin Garcia

Lupe, Last time I checked all officers handle all types of calls. They don’t pick and choose which calls they take. Wouldn’t it it make sense for an officer that is close by to a serious call to be properly equipped and respond accordingly? Did you read my comment? Maybe you should schedule a ride along and see what these officers deal with on a daily basis versus what a book or a professor tells you what it’s like on the streets.

Lupe Molina

Dude, I have been on more ride alongs and in more precincts than I can count. You're ignoring the argument that this thread started with: nonviolent civil offenses or traffic incidents do not require heavily armed cops. We should specialize public servants for the jobs they are asked to perform. So, if you're going to go off topic, just stop commenting.

Emily Koyama

Martin, you are correct, and Lupe is flat wrong. All Officers on a shift should be properly equipped to handle whatever calls might come in during that 10 hour period. It's common sense...The closest Officers can respond, instead of dispatch having to call in "special response" units, or pull adequately equipped Officers who are already on a call. Very often time is a luxury that is not available, and citizens could be at risk if Police take too long to arrive.

Andrew Lucero

And someone will be calling for the de-funding of the police in 3...2...1...

Dr. Michael Johnson

Yes, the anarchists and socialist here will soon demand defunding and dismantling of the police. And Webber and City Council will probably do it. Buy guns and ammo now. They will be in short supply very soon.

Richard Reinders

There is already a shortage, the public has looked down the road and decided to buy early before they abolish guns and ammo.

Lupe Molina

Honestly, shouldn't we consider it? This PD has repeatedly lost evidence in felony cases, has multiple lawsuits against it, sometimes has a response time of hours--if they show up at all, and they can't seem to stop dangerous driving despite multiple traffic deaths a year. I've had wonderful interactions with many of the individual police officers, and they could be invited to apply after we disband and rebuild this department with better leadership and procedures.

Khal Spencer

Disbanding and rebuilding is not defunding. Its just putting a new hat on the same institution and pretending you changed something. The city still has to come up with the money to make sure we hire enough cops, train and retain, hire standout leadership, and equip them with what they need.

The problem with response time and the mess of the evidence room is that we have not put our money where our mouths are. We have a vacancy rate in the teens and an evidence room with a computer system bordering on Abacus I staffed by whoever happens to be taken off the road on a given day, according to this paper's reporting.

I hold the Mayor, Council, and City Manager responsible for this. Its up to our elected leaders to up the ante if we want full staffing, great police leadership, and proper facilities. Not to mention a Police Academy that demands excellence. None of it comes cheap but neither does crime, lawsuits, or dropped cases.

As far as the local P.D., I seriously doubt we would have a James Boyd incident in this town at this point in time. I don't think our force is on a par with the guys who shot up that unfortunate man, past screwups not withstanding.

Since we know absolutely nothing about why deadly force was used last night, I suggest we wait to find out before hypothesizing anything based on one's political axe being ground.

Lupe Molina

See comment above, let's move money away from the expensive gear and more towards principles of policing and social services. Cops used to walk beats. Now they all drive one SUV at a time and leave them running everywhere. That money could stack up real quick to hire another evidence room manager. It's not about politics, it's about building effective organizations.

Lupe Molina

Also, nobody here has contested last night's events yet. I agree, wait until all the facts are out. Let's not spear any more straw dogs while we're at it.

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