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Officials Say Fatal LCPD Shooting Likely Justified

Even though the investigation into a deadly police shooting is still ongoing, officials say the evidence so far points to a justified shooting on the part of the unidentified officers.

The district attorney and the police chief said the evidence they have seen shows that Las Cruces police officers acted appropriately when they shot and killed 37-year-old Robert Montes on Dec. 16. The preliminary autopsy revealed that Montes died of multiple gunshots.

District Attorney Amy Orlando said the evidence shows Montes stood just two feet away from an officer and pulled out a gun and fired at officers, who responded with gunfire that ultimately killed Montes. Orlando also said investigators have Montes’ gun and recovered the casing that was left in the revolver, as well as the remainder of the bullet.

“I believe that they acted appropriately,” Orlando said. “And at this point, we are trying to wait until we can answer all questions and have all of the facts of the case completed, and then try and prevent any other threats or future harm to any law enforcement officers.”

Orlando could not discuss too many details since there is still an active investigation, but she did say that the officers involved are back at work. However, the officers’ names have not been released because that could put them in danger, she said.

“To let those names be placed out there is reckless and can cause more harm than good and cause more people to get in trouble and or cause harm,” Orlando said.

About a block from the shooting, someone spray-painted “L.C.P. are murderers” on the street, but the message was covered by an unknown party on Wednesday afternoon.

“I can’t confirm that it is coming from a gang. I can confirm that it is being investigated,” Orlando said. “It is a threat that is credible and all I can say is that Mr. Montes has been classified and has admitted gang ties in his past history.”

Police Chief Richard Williams said Jessica Anto, who was in a car with Montes that night, gave conflicting reports on what happened. He said her report that Montes was shot in the back does not match any evidence at the scene.

“At the end of the day, the bottom line is that these officers responded to an attempted murder on their lives and they protected themselves and they defended themselves,” Williams said. “And they did what anyone else would’ve done.

Williams said Anto has a warrant for her arrest for her.

Meanwhile, officials are waiting on ballistics for final confirmations.

ABC-7 contacted Montes’ daughter, who would not comment on the officers themselves, but said her father should not have died the way he did.

Orlando said she hopes the matter will be resolved within a few weeks.

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