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Las Cruces police officer shoots suspect after beer theft investigation escalates into physical confrontation

KVIA

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Las Cruces police say a beer theft investigation escalated into a deadly shooting that took the life of a 36-year-old man Tuesday afternoon at a Chevron gas station on S. Valley Drive.

According to LCPD, two men entered the gas station store, and one of them took beer without paying. Police say that man walked to the fuel pumps and drank the beer by a vehicle that was parked at pump number 1.

LCPD Chief Miguel Dominguez says one officer arrived and approached the man who was sitting in his vehicle with two other people.

Chief Dominguez says the officer asked the man for his identification but only provided a name and a date of birth. LCPD says the responding officer looked him up through central dispatch, but the information provided could not be confirmed. According to LCPD, wen the officer went back to confirm the original information, he was then given different information. After a second check through central dispatch, the information could once again not be confirmed.

The officer, at that point, waited for backup.

Chief Dominguez when a second officer arrived, the two officers approached the car and asked the man to exit the car. Dominguez says the man became physically and verbally resistive. Once out of the car, Dominguez says a "violent physical altercation occurred," ending with at least one shot fired by one of the officers.

LCPD said the man died on the scene. Police believe the man was not from Las Cruces or Doña Ana County and are waiting to notify next of kin before releasing the suspect's name.

One officer was taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

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Sarah Coria

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