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Las Cruces police identify civilian who intervened in a fatal attack on a police officer

Update: Police say they will release body camera footage of the night of Officer Hernandez's death at 10 a.m. Friday, March 1, 2024.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Las Cruces Police identify 29-year-old Issiah Astorga as the man who shot and killed Armando Silva, the man accused of stabbing Officer Jonah Hernandez to death.

In his description of the night Officer Hernandez died, Astorga said he tried to break up a physical fight between Silva and Hernandez. After seeing Hernandez "bleeding severely" from his neck and fearing for the safety of his girlfriend and himself, however, Astorga shot Silva. A second bystander then used Officer Hernandez's radio to call in the attack to police dispatchers.

The Third Judicial District Attorney's Office received the case from investigators February 27 and decided not to pursue charges against Astorga for Silva's death.

Astorga's attorney, Luis Robles, gave LCPD with a written statement explaining what happened the night of Officer Hernandez's death.

Read the statement in its entirety below.

“On February 11, 2024, I witnessed an individual attacking an officer at 335 South Valley Drive. I saw that the individual who was attacking the officer was in complete control of the altercation. I made the decision that I was going to go try to stop the altercation, but I was afraid that the individual attacking the officer could make the decision to disarm the officer of his service weapon. So, I decided to arm myself with my handgun that I keep in my car, for protection. I then ran towards the fight with the hope of stopping it. As I was approaching, I could see that the officer was bleeding severely from the neck area while continuing to be attacked. I yelled for the attacking individual to stop. However, in a threatening manner, the individual who attacked the officer turned and advanced towards me. Due to the severe bleeding from the officer, I knew that the individual approaching me had a weapon. Fearing for my life, my girlfriend’s life, and the officer’s life, I fired my handgun. When I felt that it was safe to do so, I tried my best to aid the injured officer. A good citizen who partially witnessed these events helped me try to control the situation and radioed to dispatch the events that had happened.

On February 11, 2024, a tragedy occurred that should have never happened. I, unfortunately, had the burden of being a part of that tragedy, and it will follow me the rest of my life.  I truly wish that the events that happened that day never occurred. If I could go back in time and prevent any of this from happening, I would in a heartbeat. My heart goes out to family, friends, and every single person who has been affected. I hope that as a community, we can help each other to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

As time moves forward and more information becomes available, I hope that everyone can be respectful to those who were directly and indirectly involved. Please refrain from allowing false information to take control of what the true events are. This was an extremely traumatic event.  Please understand that me and my girlfriend need time to cope with what happened and heal from it.

I know that there will always be questions that come from a situation like this. However, I would greatly appreciate it if everyone respected my privacy, so I can continue to focus on my mental health and move forward.”

Issiah Astorga via Luis Robles
Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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Emma Hoggard


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