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NMSP releases officer names, details in police shooting

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico State Police identified the officers – but not the deputies – who shot at and killed a man last month following a pursuit and standoff in Farmington.

State Police spokesman Dusty Francisco said State Police officer Nathan Oliver, Farmington officer Navid Babadi and four San Juan County deputies fired on William Hernandez, 46, on Dec. 14 outside the Life Care Center in Farmington. Hernandez, who police said was holding a gun to another man’s head in a vehicle at the time, died at the scene.

“At the request of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, the identities of the deputies involved will not be released by State Police,” Francisco said.

Kevin Burns, a spokesman for the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, said they are not releasing the names of the deputies due to Hernandez’s gang affiliation and “threats that have come in” since his death.

Francisco said the incident began around 9:20 a.m., when San Juan County deputies responded to a domestic dispute on County Road 3939 in Farmington. A woman told deputies her boyfriend, Hernandez, had kicked in her door and pistol-whipped her.

He said deputies spotted the vehicle Hernandez was in on Wildflower Parkway, near Murray Drive, and attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle fled and deputies gave chase as the suspects avoided spike strips and led them to the Life Care Center.

Francisco said State Police, Farmington police and deputies surrounded the vehicle – which had Hernandez and three others inside – and gave commands for them to surrender. One by one, the people inside the vehicle got out until only Hernandez and the driver remained.

He said Hernandez repeatedly put the handgun to the head of the driver before four deputies, Oliver and Babadi opened fire.

Francisco said the driver then exited the vehicle and authorities found Hernandez fatally injured, with a handgun and knife in his lap, in the passenger seat. He said the driver sustained minor injuries.

Francisco said Oliver has been with State Police for five years and Babadi has been with Farmington police for six.

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