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Officer who accidentally fired gun inside Las Cruces school faces criminal charge

Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces.
Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- A school resource officer who accidentally fired his gun inside Picacho Middle School is facing a misdemeanor criminal charge and has been removed from school duty, officials said Thursday.

Although Las Cruces police Officer Francisco Estrada has been charged with one count of prohibited use of a firearm, officials still haven't disclosed exactly what took place when the gun went off about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

And authorities still maintained Thursday that Estrada was alone in a school office when his police-issued gun inadvertently discharged and sent a bullet into a wall.

However, a 12-year-old student told ABC-7 that his friend was in the office when the gun went off while he waited just outside of that office. Julian Provencio said the bullet whizzed by the ear of his friend, another 12-year-old boy, and caused temporary hearing loss.

Julian said the gunshot sounded like "a big bang. It was a loud, loud noise." The boy went on to say how he thought, "I could've been in there and the bullet could've, if I was in there and I was sitting next to him, it could've hit me. I think that was a very scary situation."

Julian's grandfather, Jack Provencio, first questioned the police account about the officer being alone when the gun discharged in an interview with ABC-7 on Wednesday evening.

One day later, he said he still wants answers from police and school officials about what happened. A police spokesman said an internal affairs investigation aimed at finding out answers remained ongoing.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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