NMSP Investigate Police Shooting In Peñasco

by Staff Reporter / Dec 06, 2017 / comments
Stock photo of NM State Police vehicle. Taken at previous event. Valley Daily Post photo

NMSP Investigate Police Shooting In Peñasco

Submitted by Carol A. Clark

TAOS ― The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau is investigating a police shooting, which occurred Nov. 25, involving NMSP and Taos County Sheriff's Office (TCSO).

Around 8 a.m. Nov. 25, NMSP officers responded to a domestic disturbance call to assist TCSO deputies at 57 A Santa Barbara Road in Peñasco. It was reported that Nelson F. Rodarte, 39, of Peñasco was inside that residence and had battered and assaulted his girlfriend. In a later interview, it was learned on the evening of Nov. 24, Rodarte was highly intoxicated and began to harass his girlfriend.

Throughout the night, the incident escalated to Rodarte allegedly battering his girlfriend and subsequently pointing a rifle at her. She left the residence for her safety and went to a relative's house nearby. Around 6 a.m., Rodarte began harassing the relatives where his girlfriend was staying and refused to leave, so police were called.

When NMSP officers and TCSO deputies arrived, they were aware Rodarte had multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest. Law enforcement approached the residence where Rodarte was, which belonged to Rodarte's girlfriend, and observed Rodarte open and close the front door as they approached. Rodarte then barricaded himself inside the girlfriend's residence. Officers attempted verbally to get Rodarte to open the door but he refused.

TCSO deputies entered the residence to apprehend him and they encountered Rodarte inside with a rifle. Deputies exited the residence for safety and they along with NMSP began to secure a perimeter on the outside of the premises for safety. As the officers and deputies set up a safety perimeter outside, Rodarte was spotted on the roof of the residence, lying in a prone position, with a rifle in his hands pointed at law enforcement.

NMSP Ofc. Anthony Perez arrived and was positioned at the perimeter of the scene approximately 100 yards away from the residence. Ofc. Perez heard calls for assistance from deputies and a NMSP sergeant near the residence saying Rodarte was on the roof pointing the rifle at them as they were attempting to take cover.

TCSO Deputy Shana McTague, who was near the residence, fired her weapon. Immediately afterward, Ofc. Perez observed Rodarte on the roof with his rifle up to his shoulder in an apparent aiming position and stance, pointing the rifle toward the officers below. Ofc. Perez fired his rifle believing the officers were about to be shot by Rodarte, who had an advantageous, elevated position on the roof. Rodarte, with the rifle still at his shoulder, appeared to continue to aim the rifle at the officers below. Ofc. Perez fired a second shot, which appeared to stop Rodarte. Ofc. Perez has approximately two and a half years experience with NMSP.

Rodarte was fatally struck by gunfire. A safety plan was made for officers, deputies, and EMS to climb onto the roof to render aid, but when they approached Rodarte, he had succumbed to the gunshot wounds. He was pronounced deceased on scene. Rodarte was found holding a loaded .30-30 rifle in his hands and he also had a loaded revolver in one of his pockets.

The details of this police shooting remain under investigation. At the completion of this investigation this case will be forwarded to an assigned district attorney for review.

No further details are available.