LAS CRUCES — The area of North Valley Drive and Lopez Road near East Picacho Elementary has been secured after a Dona Ana County Sheriff’s deputy was involved in a shooting at 3:30 a.m. Friday. Street closures are below.
The investigation is ongoing, but preliminary information indicates that the suspect, a 25-year-old male, was stopped in a vehicle on the side of the road when a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy stopped next to him to check his welfare, investigators said.
The suspect indicated he was having vehicle trouble, so the deputy pulled in behind him to assist. As the deputy approached the vehicle, the suspect suddenly exited the vehicle with a firearm, reportedly pointed at the deputy. The deputy, a 7-year veteran of the department, fired at and struck the suspect, who then fled the area on foot.
The suspect was taken into custody a short time later, approximately one-half mile from scene of the shooting. The suspect was given first aid and was subsequently airlifted to University Medical Center in El Paso with what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries.
The deputy was uninjured and has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for a deputy-involved shooting. The suspect is still at UMC and has not yet been positively identified.
There are two concurrent investigations underway; an internal investigation will be conducted by the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department Professional Standards Division and a criminal investigation will be conducted by the Officer Involved Incident Task Force.
There are several locations closed near North Valley and Lopez Road where evidence has been located. Investigators anticipate they will be processing the area well into the afternoon on Friday. Motorists and residents are encouraged to avoid the area if possible or seek alternate routes. Expect delays, heavy traffic and to be rerouted.
Until further notice, North Valley Drive is closed to north and southbound traffic at Taylor Road and Lopez Road. Lopez Road is closed to westbound traffic from San Ysidro Road to Valley Drive. Westwind Road is closed from the train tracks to Valley Drive.
Access to East Picacho Elementary is possible only from Valley Drive northbound.