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N.M. Police Officers Kill Man After Responding To Wrong House

The New Mexico State Police are investigating a fatal shooting by police officers in Farmington, N.M., after the officers responded to the wrong house for a domestic violence call last week. Farmington officers were responding to a call at 5308 Valley View Avenue in Farmington, a city in the rural northwest corner of New Mexico, but knocked on the front door at 5305 Valley View instead, the State Police said, reports the New York Times. Police officers fatally shot Robert Dotson, 52, after they “mistakenly approached” his home around 11:30 p.m. and he opened his screen door armed with a handgun, the State Police said. Dotson’s wife, who was not named, then fired from the house’s doorway with a handgun, investigators said, and the police fired back. She put down the gun once she realized the people outside were police officers.

Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe apologized for the fatal shooting in a video statement, saying that he was “heartbroken.” Hebbe said, “I extend nothing but my deepest condolences to the Dotson family. There’s nothing I can say that will make this better.” He said that after Dotson opened his front door, “a chaotic scene” followed, “with officers retreating and opening fire.” Shanice Gonzales, a police spokeswoman, said three officers were involved in the shooting and were on paid administrative leave. She said that a few hours after the initial call, the police investigated the initial domestic violence call that had prompted the police response and “everyone was OK.” Investigators said that body camera footage showed that as officers “backed away” from the Dotson, Robert Dotson opened a screen door armed with a handgun. Then at least one officer fired at striking him.

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