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Las Cruces Police release body camera video of officer shooting and killing woman

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Las Cruces Police released the body camera footage from when an officer shot and killed a 45-year-old woman in Las Cruces earlier this month.

A bicycle officer pulled over Teresa Gomez on Burley Court at around 4:45 a.m. on October 3. Gomez said she was looking for her keys, and was about to leave the area.

Jesus Garcia was in the passenger seat, and the officer recognized him and said he was trespassing and violating a court order not to be there. The officer also said Gomez was trespassing on public housing property. That is why the officer said he stopped them.

When the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed what looked like guns inside Gomez's car. She told him they were paintball guns.

The officer ordered Gomez to get out of her car, and Gomez repeatedly refused to comply, but eventually gets out of the car to speak with the officer. After several minutes, she asked to sit down, and the officer told her she can have a seat.

A few moments after Gomez got back into her car, she started the engine without warning, and tried to drive off, which is when the officer fired three rounds, shooting her. Shots were fired about 9 minutes after the officer first encountered Gomez and Garcia.

Police are not yet identifying the officer who shot Gomez, but said his identity would be released in the future. However, police did say he had 8 years of experience on the job, and has had to use force in past incidents, but never deadly use-of-force. He remains on paid administrative leave.

The family of the woman shot and killed by a Las Cruces Police officer early this month released a statement Tuesday.

"Teresa Gomez was a beloved mother, daughter, sister, and grandmother. She brought so much
life into the world; her family members gathered yesterday to bury her and are all at a loss at her
life being snuffed out. The tragedy of her unnecessary violent death at the hands of a poorly
trained police officer will cause suffering to her loved ones for the remainder of their lives. She
will never again hold her grandchildren. She will never again celebrate another high school or
college graduation. She will never again laugh with her sisters or share a Christmas or
Thanksgiving with her father and mother.

On October 3, 2023, at 4:45 a.m. while sitting peacefully in her car, Officer Felipe Hernandez, an
officer with Las Cruces Police Department, began an unlawful trespassing investigation.
Hernandez used profane language, addressed Teresa in an aggressive manner and belittled her,
threatening at times violence and at times arrest. As she slowly pulled her car away, Hernandez
shot at her three times with no cause. Teresa Gomez had committed no crime and was a threat to
no one as she slowly drove away from a verbally abusive officer. Instead of rendering medical
care, as Teresa gasped for air in the front seat of her car, Officer Hernandez ran away from her
towards his bicycle.
We must end the callous indifference to life that pays no consideration to the human connections
of family that we all have. Teresa’s family urges the City of Las Cruces to immediately change
the culture of indifference to life with improved screening of officers, improved training and
supervision that places the preservation of life at the pinnacle of concerns."

Teresa Gomez family statement

Police said the shooting is still under investigation. ABC-7 will keep you updated on any developments both on air and online.

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Kerry Mannix


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