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Video shows NMSP officer shooting at vehicle

A New Mexico State Police officer directs traffic after one of the 50 officers brought in through the Metro Surge Operation fired at a suspect on Washington north of Central on May 16. It was the second of two shootings within a little more than an hour. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Daniel Franco

Video posted on Facebook and a search warrant filed in state District Court reveal more details about a shooting involving New Mexico State Police in Albuquerque last week – one of two State Police shootings that happened within two hours of each other that evening.

State Police officials have said an officer opened fire on a truck with Daniel Franco, 40, and a passenger inside on May 16. Franco escaped after the pursuing officer collided with a bystander’s vehicle. Franco was arrested days later, following a standoff.

The agency has not provided the specifics of how the shooting played out or why the officer fired at Franco, citing the ongoing investigation.

“Large-scale investigations like officer involved shootings are complex,” State Police spokesman Mark Soriano said Friday. “New Mexico State Police always investigates cases thoroughly; this one will be no different.”

The incident happened during the Metro Surge Operation, which began May 10 when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered 50 State Police officers to help fight crime in the city.

A video shared on Facebook shows the officer, braced against his driver’s side door, fire on a black truck as it speeds away with tires squealing. As the shots ring out, vehicles approaching from the opposite direction can be seen in front of the truck.

In response to the video, Soriano said, “New Mexico State Police hold our officers and their actions to the highest standards.”

According to a search warrant affidavit filed Thursday in 2nd Judicial District Court, investigators afterward found three bullets embedded in the truck, along with a gun and ammunition inside.

Police say the incident began when State Police officer Joseph Cloyd – brought in from Farmington as part of the surge operation – tried to pull over Franco around 7:40 p.m. near Washington and Central NE after noticing the truck had no license plate.

According to the affidavit, Franco fled and Cloyd attempted a PIT – pursuit intervention technique – maneuver and brought both vehicles to a stop.

“Officer Cloyd exited his patrol vehicle and fired shots, the suspect’s vehicle began to evade Officer Cloyd once again,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

Police say Franco ran a red light at Lomas and Washington and Cloyd was struck by a bystander’s vehicle as he went through the intersection, ending the chase. State Police found the truck abandoned in a nearby neighborhood and, close by, a bag with guns and drugs.

According to the affidavit, during a search of the truck, investigators found three bullets embedded in it: one in the backseat, one in the front passenger seat and another in the pickup bed. They also found a black Ruger pistol and a loaded magazine.

Franco was arrested Tuesday after a standoff with State Police at a home in the 1300 block of Los Tomases NW, near Mountain and Sixth. He is in the Metropolitan Detention Center and charged with aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon.

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