Visit the The Raton Range website
November 06, 2007
Police: Charging man had knife
Evidence collected in fatal shooting includes two knives
|Emergency medical personnel take Frederick Armijo away from the scene of Friday's shooting.|
|Todd Wildermuth photo|
RATON, New Mexico (STPNS) -- The local man who was fatally shot by a city police officer in downtown Raton late Friday afternoon had allegedly wielded a knife while throwing rocks at passing cars and then attempting to stab someone on the sidewalk before, police say, the man retrieved a second knife from his nearby home and charged at officers in the street.
Witnesses at the scene said they heard three or four shots - different witnesses gave different numbers. Killed was Frederick Armijo, known as Fred or Freddy, a 24-year-old Raton resident who had been released from prison this year.
State police are investigating the incident. State police spokesman Lt. Rick Anglada on Monday said state police investigators collected two knives from the incident and have them "in evidence." He said one was a hunting knife and the other was a kitchen knife.
Raton Police Chief Vince Mares said there were three shots fired by the officer. Mares said three bullet casings were found on the ground at the spot where the officer fired.
There were other officers in the same area, witnesses said, with some of the witnesses claiming Mares fired at Armijo. Shortly after Friday's shooting, which occurred about 4:30 p.m. or a little later, Mares said it was an officer who fired the shots, but would not give the name of the officer. On Monday, Anglada confirmed it was Officer Roger Graham who had fired the shots and that he was the only officer to shoot. He said three shots were fired and all struck Armijo. Graham was immediately taken from the scene Friday. Anglada said it is standard procedure for an officer to be placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted following a shooting such as this.
State police investigators were called to Raton Friday to conduct an investigation into the shooting. The Raton Police Department will also conduct its own investigation, Mares said, but it is standard procedure for the state police to investigate police-involved shooting incidents involving other law-enforcement agencies.
Anglada said Armijo was pronounced dead at Miners' Colfax Medical Center. Anglada said an autopsy will be performed on Armijo. He said the autopsy results should include whether or not Armijo was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of Friday's incident.
About an hour after the shooting had taken place Friday, Mares gave this account to The Range of what happened near the intersection of South Second Street and Galisteo Avenue: Police responded to a call referring to a man threatening people on the sidewalk in front of the downtown Shell gas station on Second Street. When the officer drove up, the man threw "huge slabs of concrete" at the police car, and in doing so dropped a knife he had been holding, The knife was retrieved by one of the people there and given to the officer. The man ran around the corner down Galisteo Avenue to his house, went inside, and then ran out of the house toward officers who had then gathered at the intersection of South Second Street and Galisteo Avenue, slightly south from where the initial incident had taken place. The man - later identified as Armijo, although Mares would not confirm the identity Friday afternoon - ran out of the house with a knife and failed to obey an officer's two or three commands to stop. The officer then shot the charging man.
According to where Armijo fell on the street after being shot, he was about 20 feet or so from where Graham was when he fired.
Two witnesses to the incident - each watching from a different vantage point - each said they did not see Armijo holding anything when he ran out of his house at the officers. Nancy Sanchez, who was sitting in her van on Second Street a few vehicle lengths from the intersection because police had blocked traffic, described seeing Armijo run out of the house toward the officers with his fists balled up but not appearing to be holding anything. She said Armijo, wearing jeans and boots and no shirt, was cursing at officers as he ran toward them before being shot.
Nicole Mares was watching the scene from down Galisteo Avenue more toward First Street, from behind Armijo as he ran from the house and charged at officers. She said she did not notice anything in Armijo's hands as he ran. She said Armijo's mother was working at the Shell station at the time and came around the corner following the shots to find her son lying in the street.
Vince Mares could not be reached on Monday morning for further comment on the shooting and dispatchers at the police department had been told to refer inquiries to the state police. Anglada added to Mares's version of events by saying that Armijo was reportedly throwing rocks at cars before police arrived and that he had brandished a knife and tried to stab someone.
A man who had been driving on Galisteo Avenue between First and Second streets shortly before the incident Friday said Armijo was walking around in circles near the intersection of Galisteo Avenue and Second Street and looking "pretty agitated." The man, who declined to give his name, said he drove on. He stopped at the scene on his way back when he saw police there.
Armijo was released from state prison this year, according to several people at the scene Friday who said they knew Armijo. Authorities did confirm that Armijo was on parole.
According to court records, Armijo was placed on probation following his guilty plea as part of a plea agreement stemming from a September 2005 charge of battery on a peace officer. He later violated his probation and this past March was sent to prison to serve about five months. Armijo's criminal record in Raton also includes numerous charges in 2005 and 2006 for criminal damage to property (he was convicted once; four other cases were dismissed), assault on a peace officer (two cases that were each dismissed by the officer), battery (case dismissed) and possession of drug paraphernalia (to which he pleaded guilty).
The state police investigation could take anywhere from several weeks to months, depending on the availability of witnesses that investigators may want to talk to, as well as the caseload on the investigators, Anglada said. The results of the investigation - which Anglada described as a basic detailing of the facts - will eventually be turned over to the district attorney, who could decide to submit the information to a grand jury to determine whether the shooting was justified or not.
Friday's incident is believed to be Raton's first police-involved shooting since September 2003 when state police Lt. Don Day fatally shot a Missouri man who was a fugitive from three states. Day shot the man after the fugitive had opened fire on Day in the Do-a Ana shopping plaza parking lot. Day survived the three shots that hit him - two to his legs and one that struck his bulletproof vest on his lower stomach.
© 2017 The Raton Range
Raton, New Mexico. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from STPNS