Twenty-one days after Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man on Siler Road, New Mexico State Police has refused to name the deputies and has released little information about its investigation of the incident.
Newly released video from the deputies’ cameras show they fired about 10 shots at 32-year-old Nathan Roybal after he got out of a bullet-riddled black Ford Ranger, dropped a gun and was running away — mostly with his back to them.
The footage, first obtained and reported by KRQE-TV, shows a different series of events than state police briefly described in a news release the day after the shooting.
Several minutes after deputies began pursuing a man in a truck late at night June 23, state police said in the news release, the man stopped at the intersection of Siler Road and Rufina Court. “A male suspect got out of the vehicle, pointed a black handgun at the deputies,” the release said. “Deputies fired at the suspect, striking him.”
State police have not yet named Roybal as the man slain by deputies that night, but his name appears in a report released late last week by the sheriff’s office. While state police said Roybal was accused of driving a stolen truck, the sheriff’s office report makes no mention of the allegation. It says he was accused of aggravated assault and had evaded deputies pursuing him earlier the day he was killed.
Officer Dusty Francisco, a state police spokesman, did not respond to emails or calls Wednesday asking why the agency has not released the deputies’ names, why it believes Roybal had been driving a stolen truck and why its brief description of the shooting didn’t match the events that unfold on video.
Even after video of the shooting was released on various news sites Wednesday, showing deputies shooting Roybal as he is running away, officials from several agencies declined to comment.
The deadly encounter with Roybal — one of three fatalities by law enforcement in the Santa Fe area in a two-week period — started the morning of June 23, when a woman reported he had pointed a gun at her after she ordered him to leave her home on Lopez Lane. The woman said he had been stalking her for some time and often showed up at her home uninvited.
Deputies who responded to the call followed Roybal’s truck from the woman’s neighborhood, according to the sheriff’s office report, but they abandoned the chase when he began driving recklessly.
The office filed an affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Roybal on charges of aggravated assault and resisting an officer, the report says.
Later that night, a deputy recognized the truck Roybal was driving and began following him, according to the series of newly released dashboard camera videos.
After realizing he is being followed by the deputy, who is flashing his lights, Roybal begins swerving from one lane to the next, a video shows. He then shifts the truck into reverse and moves backward toward the deputy’s vehicle.
“He’s reversing the vehicle on me,” the deputy says.
Video footage shows Roybal continuing to travel slowly in reverse around a traffic circle. He eventually shifts back into drive and turns onto Siler Road, and then he stops near Siler Road and Rufina Court.
The deputy following Roybal uses an expletive as he orders Roybal, by name, to get out of the truck.
Roybal doesn’t comply. Instead, he waves his arm outside the truck. He then appears to fire at least one shot from a handgun.
A few seconds later, deputies open fire, riddling the truck with bullet holes. Over 20 gunshots can be heard as the bullets tear into the vehicle.
When the gunshots stop, Roybal gets out of the truck, drops a gun, appears to drop another object and begins to run across Siler Road. Deputies fire multiple shots at him as he flees, and he falls to the ground.
One deputy can be heard ordering Roybal to drop his gun even after he had tossed the weapon onto the street.
“One male down, one male down,” a deputy says.
Three deputies, guns drawn, slowly approach Roybal’s body, some shouting at him to show his hands.
“Get him cuffed, get him cuffed,” a deputy says.
“He’s down, he’s down,” another replies.
The video footage ends as more law enforcement vehicles approach the area and officers begin blocking the street.
No deputies were harmed in the incident.
Two weeks after Roybal was killed, Santa Fe County deputies shot and killed Edward Daniel Santana at a home in Tesuque, where he was accused of fatally stabbing his mother. Family members said Santana had slit his own throat and likely was posing no danger when a deputy fired on him. State police have not responded to questions about the family’s comments and have not named deputies involved in that case.
The agency has named Santa Fe police Sgt. Bradley Lopez as the officer who fatally shot Francisco Javier Lino-Gutierrez, 29, of Lamy early June 23 on Old Santa Fe Trail.
Lino-Gutierrez was a suspect in a shooting that morning at nearby De Vargas Park. He led officers on a foot chase through the downtown area and then pointed a gun at them before Lopez shot him, state police said.
After the video showing Roybal’s shooting Wednesday was released, Juan Ríos, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, declined to speak about it. He wrote in an email, “As this remains an ongoing investigation by New Mexico State Police we will not have any comment at this particular time.”
Ríos referred questions to state police about whether Roybal was driving a stolen truck the night of June 23. State police first reported that information, Ríos said. He noted the sheriff’s office report on Roybal earlier in the day didn’t cite a stolen truck.
Francisco did not respond to the question.
Carmelina Hart, a spokeswoman for Santa Fe County, said county officials, including those in the County Attorney’s Office, would not comment on an active investigation.
District Attorney Mary Carmack-
Altwies also declined to comment on the shooting or the content of the video footage. She wrote in an email, “Our office pledges full transparency in any officer involved shootings. At this time, we do not have enough information to make a statement on the facts of the case.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has remained silent on the series of law enforcement shootings in the area and the state police agency’s slow pace in releasing information to the public.
Her spokeswoman, Nora Meyers Sackett, wrote in a email Wednesday that if state police released inaccurate information about Roybal’s death, “it would be problematic.”
She added the Governor’s Office does not “have first-hand knowledge of ongoing police investigations.”