A collection of law enforcement videos released Thursday shows several Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies negotiating with 39-year-old Marvin Montoya behind a south-side Allsup’s store, asking him to drop his gun and talk with them.
Montoya yells suicidal thoughts and threatens to shoot deputies so they will “kill him.” Some deputies can be heard in the footage describing Montoya as “incoherent” and “drunk” during the Sept. 16 incident, in which Deputy Martin Arellano would fire at Montoya, striking him in the chest and wounding him in the Santa Fe area’s fifth law enforcement shooting of 2021 — the third involving sheriff’s deputies.
Missing from the assortment of videos from deputies’ dashboard and body cameras — provided by New Mexico State Police under a public records request — is lapel camera footage from Arellano.
It wasn’t an oversight.
Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed Thursday that Arellano’s lapel camera was not on or not operating during the incident, a violation of state law and county policy. The sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation into the matter, the sheriff added.
“It is a clear violation of our policy,” Mendoza said. “That will be addressed in the internal investigation.”
Senate Bill 8, signed into law in 2020 by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, requires law enforcement officers to activate their body-worn cameras whenever they are “responding to a call for service or at the initiation of any other law enforcement or investigative encounter between a peace officer and member of the public.”
Mendoza said Arellano — a U.S. Army veteran who has been with the sheriff’s office for a decade — is not a patrol officer but works in recruiting through the office’s Community Support Services Division.
“I think when he saw there was an emergency situation going on and there was a possible threat to the neighbors and a perimeter wasn’t set up, he responded,” Mendoza said. “We need to make sure that those deputies are aware of our policy and that they have a body-worn camera on.”
When asked if Arellano’s position in recruiting may have affected his reaction to the incident and his decision to shoot, Mendoza said that was unlikely. “They go through the same trainings,” the sheriff said. “... I think he has the background and experience to respond just as anybody else would.”
The sheriff’s office is not aware of any other deputies who did not have their cameras on during the incident, but it will be investigating that, Mendoza added.
Montoya, who was treated at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for about 10 days, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful carrying of a firearm in a liquor establishment, evading an officer, unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon and two counts of negligent use of a deadly weapon, state police said in a news release late last month.
He was booked into the Santa Fe County jail following his hospitalization but was released Sept. 28 on electronic monitoring, court records show.
An arrest warrant affidavit said Montoya was an employee of the Allsup’s store on N.M. 14 south of Santa Fe who had arrived at work armed, distraught and possibly drunk the afternoon of Sept. 16. Witnesses said he had barricaded himself in a bathroom.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about the incident around 2 p.m., state police said.
Before deputies arrived, Montoya left the store, fired one shot into the air and then retreated to the back of the building, where he hid behind a fence in heavy brush, according to state police. Deputies tried to negotiate with him for more than an hour.
Dashboard camera footage from Arellano’s patrol vehicle, parked to the left of a fence in a grassy area next to the convenience store, shows Montoya stumble away from the fence and fall to the ground, and then wave a handgun. A shot rings out and Montoya ducks. He stands up and aimlessly waves his arms and the gun.
Arellano fires a second shot, and Montoya falls to the ground, clutching his chest.
Videos show deputies swarmed Montoya and began to administer medical aid.