PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police release footage from officer-involved shooting

Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department today released video from the officer-involved shooting that took place on May 18 on U.S. Highway 64. Police Chief Steve Hebbe released the following statement about the incident, “Mr. Light’s actions endangered countless citizens as he drove recklessly through the city and ultimately crashed into multiple vehicles. We are very relieved no lives were lost during this incident. When the officer attempted to contact Mr. Light at the crash scene, he made the decision to charge the officer while armed, giving the officer less than a few seconds to make a decision.  Although the investigation remains ongoing, preliminary indications show our officer acted within policy and was forced to take necessary action to protect his life and the lives of others.”

San Juan County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop 39-year-old Lamar Light of Albuquerque when he was seen driving recklessly at a high rate of speed in the Kirtland area. A deputy pursued the vehicle until it approached the west Farmington city limits, at which time the deputy terminated the pursuit given the apparent danger to the public.

Light continued driving through the city, running red lights and nearly causing several crashes. The vehicle was eventually reported to be on U.S. Highway 64, continuing its dangerous driving. Farmington Detective Chris Blea was working an overtime patrol assignment and responded to the area to help search for the vehicle. Light was then reported to have struck multiple vehicles and construction material on U.S. Highway 64 near Andrea Drive. Detective Blea was the first officer at the crash scene. When he arrived, witnesses pointed to the driver, later identified as Light, who was leaving the scene on foot. As the officer approached and began giving Light orders, he turned and advanced toward the officer with a knife in his hand. The officer retreated while ordering the subject to drop the knife. Light climbed over the barrier toward the officer and advanced several feet. He then began to run with the knife in his hand toward the officer. The officer fired two rounds and the suspect fell to the ground. The officer rendered aid to the suspect before medics arrived and transported him to the San Juan Regional Medical Center.  He was eventually flown to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque where he remains.

Detective Chris Blea joined FPD in December 2010 as a lateral from Los Lunas. He is a 12-year law enforcement veteran.

No further information will be released on this incident until the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office has completed their investigation and the District Attorney’s Office has finalized their review.

PRESS RELEASE: Officer involved shooting

Farmington, NM – A Farmington police officer was involved in a shooting this morning after making contact with an individual who was driving erratically. The incident started in the county near Kirtland where the suspect fled from sheriff’s deputies and continued into Farmington. Eventually the suspect struck multiple vehicles near Highway 64 and Andrea Drive and came to a stop. An FPD officer was first to arrive on scene. Witnesses pointed to the suspect who was attempting to flee on foot. The officer located the suspect, who reportedly brandished a knife and advanced toward the officer. The officer then discharged their firearm at the suspect and the suspect fell to the ground. Medics responded and the suspect was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center. The suspect was later flown to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque. No motorists were seriously injured in this incident.

The Farmington Police Department is cooperating with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police on this incident. Additional details will be released by the sheriff’s office as they are leading the shooting investigation.

Anyone with additional information about this incident should call non-emergency dispatch at (505) 334-6622 and request to speak with a San Juan County Sheriff’s Office detective.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 6th Annual San Juan County Law Enforcement Memorial and Candlelight Vigil

Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department, in partnership with other local law enforcement agencies, is hosting the 6th Annual Law Enforcement Memorial and Candlelight Vigil. The event will take place during Police Week on Monday, May 13 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Farmington Museum.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Navajo Police Department Chief Phillip Francisco. Farmington Fire Department’s honor guard will conduct the ringing of the bells for each officer fallen in 2019, and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Air Unit will conduct a flyover.

This is a free public event. Media is welcome to attend.

Information about fallen officers may be found on the Officer Down Memorial Page at odmp.org

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President John F. Kennedy in 1962 signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which the date falls as Police Week. During this time each year, officers from around the world head to Washington, D.C. to participate in events honoring the men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice protecting their communities. To date, there havebeen 39 line of duty deaths in the United States, 17 from gunfire. In 2018, there were 163 line of duty deaths, 52 from gunfire.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police to conduct DWI checkpoints in May

The Farmington Police Department, in conjunction with other local law enforcement agencies, is working hard to keep drunk drivers off our roads. Throughout the month of May, FPD will be conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols. This is in addition to FPD’s R.A.D.D. campaign which encourages citizens to call 911 to report suspected drunk or aggressive drivers. The Farmington Police Department would like to remind citizens to drink responsibly and always use a designated driver.

PRESS RELEASE: Suspect in fatal stabbing charged

Farmington, NM – Detectives with the Farmington Police Department have identified the suspect in yesterday’s fatal stabbing as 26-year-old Derrick Charley. Officers were dispatched around 6:22 p.m. to 1205 River Road in reference to a stabbing. When officers arrived on scene they located a male who had been stabbed. The man has been identified as 37-year-old Hector Luna-Holguin. Medics transported him to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Charley was located in the area and taken into custody. A warrant was issued for his arrest on an open count of homicide. Charley was arrested on the warrant and booked into the San Juan County Detention Center.

This incident remains under investigation. Further details will be released as they become available.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police investigating fatal stabbing

Farmington, NM – Farmington police are investigating a fatal stabbing that occurred this evening at Berg Park East. Officers were dispatched at approximately 6:22 p.m. to 1205 River Road in reference to a stabbing. When officers arrived on scene, they located a 37-year-old male who had been stabbed. The man was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The suspect, a 26-year-old male, was located in the area and taken into custody. The incident remains under investigation. Further details will be released as they become available.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police seeking public assistance in missing person cold case

Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department is seeking information on the disappearance of Melanie James. James was last seen by her sister on Sunday, April 20, 2014 walking on Butler Avenue near McKinley Elementary School with an African American male. James’ sister did not recognize the male who was with her. By the time her sister was able to turn her vehicle around, James was gone. Family has not seen or heard from her since.

Family and friends would sometimes go days or even weeks without hearing from James, but by June it had been close to two months since anyone heard from her, which was out of character to go that long without phone contact. James’ mother called the Farmington Police Department on June 12, 2014 to report her daughter as a missing person.

It’s been nearly five years since anyone has seen or heard from James. Detectives followed up on tips and conducted interviews, but nothing led them to her. Over the years, leads in the case have been sporadic and investigative leads have been exhausted. The Farmington Police Department is reviewing this case again to determine if there are any other investigative avenues to follow.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Melanie James is urged to contact Detective Heather Chavez at (505) 566-2370 or non-emergency dispatch at (505) 334-6622. Anonymous tips may be submitted through the Farmington Police Department Detective Tip Hotline at (505) 599-1068.

The family of Melanie James is holding a community prayer vigil for Melanie and all the missing and murdered indigenous women and men on Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Orchard Park located at 105 N. Orchard in Farmington.