Compared to the rest of New Mexico and the nation, shootings of civilians by police officers have been uncommon in Santa Fe.

That is, until the past few weeks, when four people have been shot by officers. Three of the shooting victims are dead, the fourth hospitalized.

The circumstances vary widely in each incident. But there is a common thread — insufficient information. Citizens deserve to know what happened every time an officer believes it necessary to fire a gun on the job, especially when bullets land and injure or kill a human being. Yes, investigations take time, but failing to release basic facts is unacceptable.

The latest shooting occurred Wednesday, involving Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies. According to New Mexico State Police investigators, deputies were answering a call at a home off Bishops Lodge Road and a suspect was killed. Sheriff Adan Mendoza then released additional information: A woman was injured at the home and later died in addition to the person shot after deputies arrived.

He is correct in acknowledging this information should have been released by investigators more quickly.

Until a news release Friday, two days after the incident, citizens were not told much about why deputies were headed to the home in Tesuque. They were answering that most dangerous of calls, a domestic dispute — in this case a woman, Delia Cervantes, 67, had been stabbed and officers had to act quickly to try protect her, according to police. As some officers were tending to the woman, others were attempting to capture the suspect, Edward Santana, 45. Cervantes and Santana were mother and son.

State police investigators say the suspect walked aggressively toward them, was Tased first and then shot by a sheriff’s deputy. He died at the scene.

Let’s recap the other shootings; though in one, information remains skimpy.

On July 4, state police officers were asked to check the welfare of a man sitting on the railroad tracks near the N.M. 599 exit off Interstate 25. They found 40-year-old Jaime Bravo, and officers say he pointed a gun and fled. Other officers were called in as backup, and Bravo continued to flee and fired at the cops, police say. They fired back; Bravo was wounded and is being treated. He will face three charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and two counts of evading an officer. Here we have an account of what happened and the name of the shooting victim — and it didn’t take two days for the information to be released. That’s the bare minimum, but it’s information citizens deserve.

Two fatal shootings by two different agencies occurred June 23.

The first happened in spectacular fashion, with a chase in downtown Santa Fe and a man killed while tourists watched on Old Santa Fe Trail. Santa Fe police Sgt. Bradley Lopez shot and killed Francisco Javier Lino-Gutierrez, 29. Lino-Gutierrez was a suspect in a shooting at nearby De Vargas Park and led officers on a foot chase before pointing a gun at them, state police investigators say.

The second shooting on June 23 remains shrouded in secrecy. Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man at Siler Road and Rufina Court late that night, reportedly after he brandished a gun. He was suspected of driving a stolen truck and had led deputies on two separate chases that day, state police said. During the second chase, the man got out of the truck, pointing a gun at deputies. They fired back, hitting the suspect and truck, peppering it with bullets.

In a report on an incident that preceded the shooting, released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office only on Friday, police said Nathan Roybal was the man deputies shot and killed. According to the report, he had pointed a gun at a woman earlier in the day.

To date, state police investigators still have not released the names of deputies involved in the shooting. It’s an active investigation, they say. That’s one of the oldest dodges in the book and fails the smell test. Basic facts, including the names of the people involved, must be released.

These shootings might be justified, even necessary, given the circumstances on the ground. But without timely and accurate information, citizens cannot judge for themselves. They deserve the facts, delivered in a realistic time frame and without attempts to cloak the truth. Otherwise, such secrecy only inflames skepticism of police and their actions — sentiments that befuddle the many solid law enforcement officers who serve our city and state.

Bottom line: Provide information, and do it quickly. It’s the only way to maintain the necessary trust between the police and those they serve.

(24) comments

Lee DiFiore

"Citizens deserve to know what happened every time an officer believes it necessary to fire a gun on the job, especially when bullets land and injure or kill a human being. Yes, investigations take time, but failing to release basic facts is unacceptable." For Ashley Babbitt too?

Jim Klukkert

Lee DiFiore- Is Ashley Babbitt the only person slain by police that concerns you? Ashley Babbitt, violent assaulting a barrier protecting our elected representatives, trespassing against lawful orders in our nations Capitol building. Participating in a planned insurrection against the certification of our nation's election.

That's the number one problem police shooting on your list?

How White Alt-Right of you? Nice work for a Neo-facist.

Note to less informed: Neo-Fascism is not a name, as in 'name-calling.' Rather it is an assesment of a particular set of political views.

Wikipedia: "Neo-fascism is a post-World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, racial supremacy, populism, authoritarianism, nativism, xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment as well as opposition to liberal democracy, parliamentarianism, liberalism, Marxism, communism and socialism."

Encyclopedia Britannica: "Like earlier fascist movements, neofascism advocated extreme nationalism, opposed liberal individualism, attacked Marxist and other left-wing ideologies, indulged in racist and xenophobic scapegoating, and promoted populist right-wing economic programs. Unlike the fascists, however, neofascists placed more blame for their countries’ problems on non-European immigrants than on leftists and Jews, displayed little interest in taking lebensraum (German: “living space”) through the military conquest of other states, and made concerted efforts to portray themselves as democratic and “mainstream.” The National Front in France, led until 2011 by Jean-Marie Le Pen and later by his daughter, Marine Le Pen, and the Liberal-Democratic Party in Russia, led from 1991 by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, are often cited as neofascist."

Comment deleted.
Jim Klukkert

Once again, Lee DeFlecting from the criticism of his ludicrous comments. Unable to acknowledge the white Alt-right content of his own position, he refuses to acknowledge the content of rebuttals of his extremism.

Typical Neo-Fascist. No facts, no cites, no counter, just name calling.

Comment deleted.
Jim Klukkert

Lee DiFiore-

- Was this not your post of July 9, but when I post the same, it makes you uncomfortable? "Typical leftist. No facts, no cites, no counter, just name calling."

- did I not ask you about Ashley Babbitt, and you had no reply?

- did I not very specifically call you out for your toxic Alt Right, Neo-Fascist political perspective, complete with accepted definitions? You refuse to acknowledge that truth, refuting my assessment as 'name-calling.' Hardly a worthy response to criticism, Lee.

- If there is Na•i goose-stepping here, it is on your part, making claims you lift from the dark web but refuse to defend. You must not know anyone who suffered under their boot heels, or you would not so lightly imitate their style and politics, nor so lightly charge others of doing so.

So now not only Alt-right, Neo-Fascist, but also Goyim. Thanks for the clarity. We may not know what state in which you live, but we now enough of your perspective.

Hardly a profile in courage, you typify cowardice in your retreat to name calling. You are really good at that; sadly, that is your only talent.

Jim Klukkert

Lee DiFllore interrupts a civil discussion of local policing procedures to TRUMPet his concern regarding there death of Insurrectionist Ashley Babbitt, then dares to call me unAmeri9can.

I think we all know who the real traitors are, do we not, Lee?

Thanks again for parading your true colors, Lee. I will not be alone in reminders on these pages of your perspective.

Andrew Lucero

“But there is a common thread — insufficient information”. Actually, the common thread that links all these shootings together is the long criminal history that each of these individuals had… Our criminals have such a brazen disregard for the law because there are no real consequences for their actions. They know full well that our DA and our judges will let them go with nothing but a tongue lashing and a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle.

Lee DiFiore

100% on the money.

Khal Spencer

No, no, no, no, no, Andrew. Never a tongue lashing. That would be a micro-aggression and you know that is frowned up.

Andrew Lucero

Sorry Khal... I didn't mean to trigger anyone.

Lupe Molina

Funny because its the Trumpist boomers who are the biggest snowflakes. But whatever Faux News tells you I guess.

Khal Spencer

Lupe, most of the First Amendment cases I know of regarding snowflakes and trigger warnings during the last decade or so have been on college and university campuses. Not locations exactly known for being right wing bastions. So the thin-skinned Trumpists are just getting into that game.

Barry Rabkin

I'd be happy to pay more in taxes if I knew the money was going to be used by the police - city or county or State police.

Lupe Molina

Ehh police already have huge budgets, they just spend it poorly on gear and security theater. I'd rather just increase accountability, break up the boys club, and spend more money on education and jobs so there are fewer criminals anyway

Joseph Tafoya

First, given today's atmosphere that has been created by the left and their lapdog media, why would anyone want to become a law enforcement officer? Second, what's the rush? The deceased is not going anywhere. Better to put out correct information than to have errors. That information would only be used by the lamestream media to put out their own set of facts to inflame the “defund the police” crowd.

Khal Spencer

[thumbup]

Lupe Molina

SFPD is consistently understaffed. They've consistently lost evidence, missed court deadlines, and screwed up investigations so thoroughly that they've resulted in mistrial. Are you fiscally conservative? Do you think you're getting your money's worth. This isn't a political issue, it's a management one. But keep hunting straw dogs if you like...

Khal Spencer

I read somewhere that Santa Fe has one of the highest ratios of civil servants per population base. Why is the SFPD underfunded while we have all these other folks on the taxpayer's dime? Something indeed is seriously wrong with the management of this city, which seems to be featherbedding its staff. But I bet to change things, one would have to "take off and nuke the whole place from orbit to be sure".

Lupe Molina

I'd love to see that stat Khal. Probably has more to do with us being a state capital. But the city govt is bloated, no doubt about that. The positions might make sense in theory, but poorly executed. Any increase in police budget should go towards salaries of better educated and experienced cops. But I don't think their budget is too small, they just spend it incredibly poorly and fail to do basic police work because their leadership is terrible.

Khal Spencer

Might have been this article.

https://www.abqjournal.com/717326/municipal-employee-count-is-high-sf-chamber-of-commerce-says.html

Andrew Lucero

[thumbup]

Khal Spencer

The police should release information as quickly as possible but in line with proper investigative procedures so as to make sure the press release is accurate. Based on what has come out so far, these were all good shoots. Somewhat irritatingly, it seems at times that I get more info from the Journal down in Albuquerque than from the New Mexican.

You point a gun at the cops, shoot at them, or come at them with a fence post, you are pushing the envelope pretty hard. Our criminals seem to be getting more brazen. Maybe they take the "defund the police" politics seriously.

Barry Rabkin

I agree with you 100%.

Andrew Lucero

[thumbup]

Mike Johnson

Indeed Khal, or maybe since the Mayor encourages and enables law breaking they are getting the message......

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