Prosecutors have concluded that police were justified in fatally shooting a man who fired on authorities in June in Las Cruces, injuring three law enforcement officers.
The Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office made the announcement on Friday, saying it “has concluded that the shooting was justified under New Mexico Law and will not be taking any action against the officers involved.”
Francisco “Paco” Tarin, 35, was shot and killed by officers in the early morning hours of June 17 near the Home Depot store in Las Cruces following multiple exchanges of gunfire.
According to investigators, it all started when a local business owner reported a suspicious person, and a responding officer shined his vehicle spotlight onto Tarin — who fired at the officer through his windshield before fleeing on foot.
State, local and federal agencies responded to reports that the Las Cruces police officer had been shot and injured, and helped in the search for Tarin, who would eventually be found near the Home Depot.
“After the utilization of less lethal devices, and continued demands by the officers to Tarin to put down his weapon; Tarin exchanged gun fire posing a threat to the officers involved,” prosecutors said in a statement issued Friday.
Numerous law enforcement officers fired at Tarin and killed him after he shot at authorities and wounded a second Las Cruces officer and a Dona Ana County Sheriff’s deputy.
“Based on the totality of the circumstances, the evidence supports the conclusion that the officers involved were placed in reasonable fear for their lives and their fellow officers’ lives,” the statement from the District Attorney’s Office concluded.
Prior to the shootout with police, Tarin had served prison time for assault with a deadly weapon, according to records previously reviewed by ABC-7.