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Former NM officer, veteran dies from gunshot wounds

Robert H. "Bobby" Dominguez served as a Santa Fe policeman and a sheriff's deputy

By Mark Oswald
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

SANTA FE — Robert H. "Bobby" Dominguez, the elderly neighborhood caretaker and ex-policeman who was shot and critically wounded in March by a Santa Fe officer responding to a burglar alarm, has died.

Dominguez, 78, passed away last Friday from complications from his gunshot wounds, according to nephew Dennis Roybal.

"He suffered the whole time," Roybal said. "He was just suffering. He was praying for God to take him, he was in such bad pain."

Dominguez, who served as a Santa Fe policeman and a sheriff's deputy, was shot as both he and SFPD officer Charles Laramie responded about 3 a.m. March 4 to a burglar alarm on Johnson Lane on Santa Fe's east side.

The family's attorney has filed a tort claim notice of litigation over the shooting.

Dominguez looked after houses in his neighborhood when residents were away and some neighbors called him "the mayor."

"It's been a horrific experience for all of the family," Roybal said Wednesday. "He spent 95 percent of his time (after the shooting) in the hospital, St. Vincent and the veterans hospital."

Officer Laramie fired seven shots after shining a flashlight at Dominguez, identifying himself as an officer and telling Dominguez to keep his hands down, according Laramie's belt recording of the incident.

As Laramie called for an ambulance, he said Dominguez had pulled a gun on him. On the tape, he asked Dominguez why he pulled a gun and Dominguez said he didn't mean to.

"I was trying to get the alarm," Dominguez says. "I heard a voice or something, then bang."

But Dominguez gave a statement to investigators later in which he said he set his gun and holster on the ground prior to being shot by Laramie.

District Attorney Angela "Spence" Pacheco, saying the late-night situation was "a recipe for disaster," found that the shooting was appropriate and cleared Laramie of wrongdoing.

Mark Donatelli, attorney for Dominguez's family, has filed a tort claim notice of possible litigation over the shooting.

"Obviously, I'll be meeting with the family in the near future to discuss the options available," Donatelli said Wednesday.

Roybal said his uncle suffered three gunshot wounds, including shots that nicked his liver and kidneys. "He just started going downhill. He got a stroke and everything just went bad for him."

"We didn't think he was going to make it even a few days, and he made it about 10 months."

'He's done it all'
"He was really loved by everybody on Johnson Lane," Roybal continued. "He was the security officer of Johnson Lane. Everybody in the neighborhood was like -- just totally words can't even describe it, what he went through."

"He was very active," Roybal added. "He did the luminarias on Johnson Lane for more than 50 years, only in 2013 he couldn't."

Besides his career in law enforcement, Dominguez was a veteran of the Korean War. "He's done it all," Roybal said. "Everybody in Santa Fe knows who he is."

Attorney Donatelli said that he doesn't believe Dominguez had a gun in his hand when he was shot. He said the alarm had been going off for 20 minutes when Laramie encountered Dominguez and any burglars would have fled by then, and that Dominguez was trying to disarm the alarm when the officer fired on him.

"I can't say what the officer thought he saw but in our opinion, Bobby didn't have a gun in his hand," Donatelli said.

DA Pacheco has said that Dominguez's gun was down on the ground when police began investigating, but his holster was still on his belt.

Dominguez's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Copyright 2014 the Albuquerque Journal


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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