By Ryan Boetel
ESPANOLA, N.M. — An Espanola police officer shot and killed a 16-year-old boy who pointed a gun at officers Sunday morning, according to the department's chief.
Officers were called to a parking lot near Riverside Drive and Corlett Road on a suspicious person report just before 11 a.m., according to a police news release.
Patrol officers Jeremy Apodaca and Ritchie Trujillo arrived and made contact with Victor Vialpando, Espanola Police Chief Eric Garcia said.
Vialpando pointed a handgun at the two officers and Apodaca shot Vialpando, Garcia said. The officers didn't know how old Vialpando was until after the shooting, he said.
Vialpando was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to State Police.
Garcia said both officers have 10 years' law enforcement experience. He said the officers tried to talk the 16-year-old into putting down the gun before Apodaca fired his duty weapon.
Garcia said the entire encounter was recorded on a nearby surveillance camera.
He referred questions to State Police about whether or not Vialpando fired his weapon and how close the officers were to Vialpando.
State Police Sgt. Damyon Brown said the officers involved in the shooting would be interviewed by investigators early this week, then more information would be released. Garcia said Apodaca and Trujillo were each placed on administrative leave for three days.
Sunday's officer-involved shooting was the first in Espanola since October of last year, when a State Police officer fatally shot a suspect who had shot the officer in the stomach.
Garcia, who described the incident as "horrific," said he asked New Mexico State Police to investigate and released the involved officers' names to be transparent.
"I want the public to realize that the more transparent a law enforcement agency is, the more they can believe in that law enforcement agency," he said.
Copyright 2014 the Albuquerque Journal
McClatchy-Tribune News Service