SANTA FE — The Santa Fe Police Department has provided a large amount of footage from the lapel cameras worn by officers who were at the scene of last week’s a fatal shooting of a man who threw homemade explosives during a SWAT standoff.
But there’s no video from an officer as he fired 16 of the 17 shots police squeezed off from close range at 24-year-old Anthony Benavidez, who had barricaded himself in an apartment that he’d been evicted from the day before.
The State Police have identified SFPD’s Jeremy Bisagna and Luke Wakefield as the officers who fired at Benavidez at the Tuscany at St. Francis apartments July 19. Leading up to the gunfire, Benavidez stabbed a social worker from the Santa Fe Community Guidance Center and threw two homemade explosive devices at officers which didn’t blow up. Benavidez was pronounced dead later at the hospital.
Video released Tuesday and Wednesday by the Santa Fe police shows officers breaking through a window to get at Benavidez and yelling at him to show his hands. Bisagna quickly fires sixteen shots through the window space in rapid succession, followed after a moment by a single shot by Wakefield, whose lapel cam video was among the files provided by the SFPD in response to public records requests.
Bisagna’s camera view possibly could show a perspective of Benavidez inside the apartment and how close he was to the window and the officers. Footage of the shooting’s aftermath shows a fallen Benavidez just inside the window through which the shots were fired.
When asked why footage from Bisagna was not provided or if any footage from Bisagna exists, SFPD Deputy Chief Andrew Padilla said he didn’t know and that he has provided to reporters all the footage that was given to him.
“That’s what was provided to me by the lieutenant that compiled the data,” Padilla said. “The case is still under investigation by State Police. They’ll have to confirm if there is video. That’s what was provided to me, and that’s what I provided to you all.”
State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said the State Police have confirmed with the SFPD that the video footage that was released by the SFPD is all the footage that is available.
It’s footage from Sgt. Nick Wood’s camera that captures Bisagna firing the 16 rounds from his handgun just after Wood breaks the window and officers shout commands for Benavidez to come out of the apartment with his hands up. Wakefield’s camera shows him aiming downward and firing the final shot into the apartment.
It’s unclear in Wood’s video where Benavidez is when Bisagna starts firing, as the interior of the apartment can’t be seen. But post-shooting footage from Sgt. Andrew Gonzales’ camera shows Benavidez lying on the floor near the window that Bisagna shot into.
In another development, one officer says on a video recording that the Santa Fe police had previous, similar run-ins with Benavidez, who had been receiving services from social workers and was taken to the hospital for evaluation the day before the shooting.
“We’ve dealt with this guy before,” Officer Victor Alvarez says to a female officer. “We’ve been called to do welfare checks on him. He does the same thing; he barricades himself inside, doesn’t answer.” Last week, Benavidez’s mother told The Santa Fe New Mexican that Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center should have sent him to the state Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, N.M., for treatment of mental illness when he was at the Santa Fe hospital the day before the shooting.
A search warrant affidavit filed by State Police Agent William Mora in Santa Fe District Court July 21 said investigators found 15 casings for .40-caliber hollow point rounds and one casing for a .223 rifle round after the shooting.
They also found an empty magazine for a .40-caliber Glock and a “recording device” near the window where the shooting occurred. A large kitchen knife with suspected blood on it was also taken from the apartment, but no guns were found.
SFPD Lt. Ben Valdez told Mora that the first device Benavidez threw at officers during the SWAT standoff was a cylinder-type object that was burning and the second appeared to be an ammonia bottle, according to the affidavit.