Border agents, police officers cleared in N.M. shootout that left suspect dead

New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) — Prosecutors cleared members of various law enforcement agencies in a June shooting that left a suspect dead in the parking of a Las Cruces Home Depot.

Francisco “Paco” Tarin was killed June 17 in a shootout with members of the Las Cruces Police Department, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol and New Mexico State Police.

In a Sept. 5 letter, Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio stated that no action would be taken against the following officers, deputies and border agents:

  • Las Cruces Police Department: Officers Charli Velasco, David Ramirez, Francis Whitten, Eduardo Salinas, Sgt. Joshua Savage and Sgt. Jonathan Boehne.
  • Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office: Deputy Jesus Ortegon and Sgt. Scott Bayles.
  • U.S. Border Patrol: Agents Travis Gulledge and Cheatum Casey.
  • New Mexico State Police: Officer Jaime Dominguez.

Las Cruces Police Officer Anthony Harrison, who was also cleared of any wrongdoing, responded about 2:20 a.m. to a call of a suspicious man who had threatened employees at a nearby Jack in the Box.

Courtesy Las Cruces Police Department.

Harrison found a man who matched the subject’s description in an area surrounded by restaurants and retail stores at the intersection of Lohman Avenue and Nacho Drive. As Harrison approached, the man, who was later identified as Tarin, shot seven rounds at the officer’s unit, investigators said. Harrison’s dash cam captured the encounter with the Tarin.

Wounded, Harrison drove himself to Memorial Medical Center as he called for backup.

A group of officers, deputies and border agents located located Tarin in the Home Depot parking lot, where he allegedly refused orders to surrender and was shot with a non-lethal bean bag round before returning fire. Law enforcement returned fire and killed Tarin.

The shooting was investigated by the Officer-Involved Incident Task Force and sent to the district attorney’s office for review.

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