New Mexico State Police Investigate Santa Fe PD Officer-Involved Shooting

by Staff Reporter / Jul 26, 2017 / comments

New Mexico State Police Investigate Santa Fe PD Officer-Involved Shooting

SANTA FE ― The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was asked to investigate a Santa Fe Police Department officer-involved shooting incident, which occurred around 11 a.m. July 19, at an apartment complex at 2218 Miguel Chavez St. in Santa Fe. 

Around 9 a.m. July 19, Santa Fe Police Department officers were called to the apartment complex for a report of criminal damage to property and criminal trespass in one of the apartments. The tenant of that apartment, Anthony Benavidez, 24, was evicted the day prior and had been in the care of social workers for community-based resources. Benavidez was in the care of social workers the prior day when he left on his own volition, went back to the apartment complex, and unlawfully entered, breaking a window.

When officers arrived, they confirmed Benavidez was inside the apartment. Officers then requested a social worker to provide assistance in gaining rapport with Benavidez and asking him to leave.

Around 10 a.m. the officers and a social worker approached Benavidez' apartment with the intent to contact him in a non-confrontational manner. Benavidez opened the door and stabbed the social worker in the abdomen. The social worker was transported to the hospital and treated. The social worker was later released in stable condition.

After the social worker was stabbed by Benavidez, Santa Fe Police Department officers set up a perimeter around the apartment for safety and requested the assistance of officers to negotiate with Benavidez. Given the volatile situation, the Santa Fe Police Department SWAT Team also was called to respond.

An officer negotiated with Benavidez for approximately one hour attempting to bring about a peaceful surrender. Around 11 a.m., Benavidez threw two improvised explosive devices from his window directly at officers. One device, later discovered to be a mixture of fireworks and flammable gas, did not function as intended and the second device emitted an apparent chemical substance. Both devices landed within the direct proximity of officers.

Because of the potential danger posed by Benavidez' actions and for the safety of the officers and public in the area, the decision was made to enter the apartment and arrest Benavidez. As officers attempted to gain entry, shots were fired by two Santa Fe Police Department SWAT officers. Life saving measures were administered on scene but Benavidez later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

The officers who fired their weapons are Ofc. Luke Wakefield and Ofc. Jeremy Bisagna. Ofc. Wakefield has served with the Santa Fe Police Department since 2014 and Officer Bisagna has served with the Santa Fe Police Department since 2007. 

The details of what led up to the officers firing their weapons are still under investigation and will not be released until all interviews have been completed.

This investigation is ongoing. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the New Mexico State Police will submit the investigation to an assigned district attorney's office for review.

No further details are available. When more information is available, it will be disseminated.