SANTA FE – Speaking out for the first time, the passenger who was with Jeanette Anaya the night she was shot to death by a State Police officer is talking about how he crouched down and feared for his life as bullets shattered a car window and killed his friend.
Jeremy Munoz, 33, said an early morning ride on Nov. 7 to help Anaya inflate a tire turned into a nightmare on the streets of Santa Fe. State Police officer Oliver Wilson shot and killed Anaya, 39, after she led the officer on a late-night vehicle chase.
The shooting has changed Munoz’s life forever, he said in an interview Wednesday at the office of his attorney, Mark Donatelli. “I have a lot of trouble sleeping,” he said.
“If anybody walked in that door and slammed it too hard you would see me jump through the roof. My whole family’s noticed it.”
Munoz maintains officer Wilson’s life was never in danger before he started firing after Wilson had forced Anaya’s car off the road.
“It’s nonsense, that’s his way of justifying what he did, and it’s nonsense,” said Munoz of Wilson’s account. “There was no way in that whole entire thing that his life would be in danger.”
A Santa Fe grand jury ruled in January that Wilson was justified in firing 16 shots at Anaya and her car. Wilson testified that, in the seconds after he’d used a bumping maneuver to stop Anaya’s car and he quickly got out of his cruiser, he feared for his life as Anaya backed her car into his police cruiser and he had to jump out of the way.
Anaya died after two bullets struck her in the back and the back of the head. Dash-cam video from Wilson’s cruiser shows him continuing to fire at Anaya’s Honda sedan as it rolls slowly away after his initial four shots.
According to Munoz, the chase ended with the sedan against a curb on Camino Carlos Rey and the officer’s car up against the sedan. Then events unfolded quickly and chaotically.
“He (Wilson) ran over to Jeanette’s side of the vehicle, actually at her window, and he was pointing the gun inside the vehicle telling us to put our hands up,” Munoz said.
“At that point is when Jeanette backed up,” Munoz said. “The whole time the officer is on the side of the vehicle. We backed up just enough in order to try to go straight and leave the scene and made contact with the officer’s car as we started to pull away, (and that) is when he started firing.”
Munoz said the first two shots came “from the back side of the car as we started to pull away.” He said “it was maybe three or four shots” before the car started to move away “and that’s when he was running alongside, shooting into my window,” he said.
Anaya “was yelling to stop, please stop, what are you doing, stop …. everything is just so chaotic, and like I said, you are so scared,” he said.
“As soon as the shots started I went straight down into the floor board. I went up against as far as I could, against the dashboard and against the door … and I just prayed to God that I didn’t get hit.”
After the car stopped, Munoz said, he was hanging his hands out of the shot-out car window “pleading for him to please stop” and “he kept saying put your hands out the window.”
“And that’s when I looked over and found out that she had been shot and she was just slouched over.”
Munoz said that after midnight on the night of the shooting, Anaya knocked on his door for help with a car tire. He needed cigarettes anyway and went along.
The chase started when Anaya rolled through a green light to make a right turn at Alta Vista and St. Francis. The dash-cam video shows no violation by Anaya, but Wilson has said he saw the car wobble. Santa Fe police refused to join the pursuit because a State Police dispatcher did not give a reason for the chase, records have shown.
Munoz said Anaya failed to pull over because she feared going to jail on a misdemeanor warrant on a concealing identity charge.
“I thought we were looking for a place to pull over,” Munoz said of the start of the pursuit. “At that point that’s when she told me she had a warrant and she didn’t want to stop and she was just going to go to her house.”
Police have said speeds during the chase reached 87 mph. “I told her just to stop,” Munoz said, “to please stop, I would get her out of jail.” He said “she just wanted to make it home” and “she said she would deal with it at that point.”
State Police did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment on Munoz’s account and has repeatedly refused to say if Wilson was ever disciplined. Lawsuits over the shooting are expected to be filed on behalf of Munoz and Anaya’s family.
Munoz said he hopes his speaking out leads to “preventative training,” and more background checks or psychological evaluations for police officers. “Something needs to done because if not, these police officers are going to continue to do what they are doing.”
“Where is the justice?” he asked. “Is there any?”