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Two die in Bernalillo KOA shooting

New Mexico State Police officers investigate a shooting involving the Bernalillo Police Department at the KOA campground near US 550. One man was killed. (Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

A Bernalillo police officer opened fire on a man police described as an armed shooting suspect at the KOA campground near U.S. 550 Monday evening.

After a standoff with police, the suspect and another man were found dead inside a trailer from “apparent gunshot wounds,” said New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Lt. Elizabeth Armijo.

The suspect was identified as 70-year-old Fernand “Fred” Lete, and the other man was identified as 55-year-old Michael LaPlante.

Around 6:30 p.m. Monday, Bernalillo police responded to a “shots fired” call at the KOA campground at 555 South Hill Road, near U.S. 550 and Interstate 25.

Armijo said callers reported that Lete had shot another man inside a camp trailer.

“When the officers arrived at the camp trailer and announced their presence, Lete opened the door and was armed with a revolver,” she said.

Armijo said one of the officers “fired multiple shots” and Lete retreated back inside the trailer.

She said police set up a perimeter, and State Police tactical units used equipment to look inside the trailer and could see the two men.

Armijo said officers went inside and found LaPlante, apparently shot to death, and Lete unresponsive. Lete died at the scene, and a .38-caliber revolver was found near his body.

State Police are investigating LaPlante’s death as a homicide.

Armijo said there is no indication LaPlante was struck by the officer’s gunfire and police believe Lete shot him.

An autopsy will be conducted on both men’s bodies. Both are from Rio Rancho, but their relationship is unclear.

Armijo would not identify the officer who opened fire or say how many times he or she fired.

Bernalillo police officials did not respond to phone calls from the Journal Tuesday.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, there was no sign of police vehicles or investigators in the campground.

People could be seen going in and out of the trailer where the shooting occurred, but they declined to speak to a Journal reporter.

Several trailers away, a couple said they hadn’t heard any gunshots or disturbances the night before and didn’t know anything had happened until police showed up.

The couple said they knew the man who lived in the trailer as “Mike,” but didn’t talk to him except for the occasional friendly “hello.”

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