Four agencies sued in fatal Deming police shooting - Albuquerque Journal

Four agencies sued in fatal Deming police shooting

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The family of a Deming man fatally shot by police in February is suing four law enforcement agencies alleging the killing was “reckless” and preventable.

The lawsuit stems from the Feb. 3 shooting death of Gilbert Valencia, 29, in a desert area outside Deming.

The suit alleges that Valencia was on his knees and following commands when officers opened fire with assault-style weapons.

A lapel camera video of the incident provided by the family’s attorneys shows Valencia on his knees with his hands in the air surrounded by armed officers shouting commands. Several of the officers called Valencia by his first name.

After officers ordered him to lie on his stomach, Valencia appeared to pick up a long, dark-colored object from the ground followed by the sound of numerous gunshots. He then fell on his back and appeared seriously injured.

Valencia is described in the suit as “a non-threatening, mentally ill young man who in the past had been known to carry toy guns and rifles.”

The family’s attorney, Larissa Lozano, said she didn’t know if Valencia was carrying a toy gun at the time, but there is no evidence he was armed.

“What he had was not an actual weapon,” Lozano said. “He wasn’t pointing anything at the officers. He was not acting in an aggressive manner. In fact, he was on his knees.”

Five Deming police officers named as defendants fired more than 20 rounds at Valencia during the encounter, the suit alleges.

It also identifies three other Deming officers and John Does 1-9 – officers employed by several agencies – who participated in the events surrounding Valencia’s death.

The Deming Police Department, Luna County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety also are named as defendants.

Deming police did not respond this week to phone messages requesting comment. Spokesmen for the other three agencies said they would not comment on pending litigation.

The incident began when a motorist on Interstate 10 reported that she saw a man with a gun beside the roadway, the suit said.

Officers with four agencies armed with assault rifles and tactical gear responded to the report, it said.

The suit alleges senior officers failed to initiate a tactical plan and “simply allowed a barrage of officers to rush toward the area” where Valencia was observed. The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages and costs.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
States mostly defer to union guidance for on-set gun ...
ABQnews Seeker
Safety standards developed by film studios ... Safety standards developed by film studios and labor unions are the primary protection for actors and film crews when a scene calls for using ...
2
Vigil to be held at Civic Plaza for cinematographer
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico community will come ... The New Mexico community will come together to remember filmmaker Halyna Hutchins. The 42-year-old director of photography was killed on the set of 'Rust' ...
3
Halyna Hutchins remembered as a gifted cinematographer
ABQnews Seeker
Ukrainian native called herself a 'restless ... Ukrainian native called herself a 'restless dreamer' and 'adrenaline junkie'
4
City: Official not drunk in accident
ABQnews Seeker
Allegation was made by Gonzales against ... Allegation was made by Gonzales against COO in mayoral debate with Keller
5
Las Cruces educator named NM Teacher of the Year
ABQnews Seeker
Lorynn Guerrero will represent New Mexico ... Lorynn Guerrero will represent New Mexico in the national competition
6
APS bus drivers get a pay boost amid ongoing ...
ABQnews Seeker
Board of Education OKs hiring, referral ... Board of Education OKs hiring, referral bonuses as rate reaches $18 per hour
7
Albuquerque's outdoors access lands it on a good list
ABQnews Seeker
Outside Magazine named Albuquerque one of ... Outside Magazine named Albuquerque one of its 20 top cities and towns to live in on its annual list.
8
Search warrant, 911 calls detail deadly incident on movie ...
ABQnews Seeker
Actor, producer Alec Baldwin shocked and ... Actor, producer Alec Baldwin shocked and saddened at tragic incident that left colleague dead
9
Governor to tout public works deal in DC visit
ABQnews Seeker
Lujan Grisham to visit the White ... Lujan Grisham to visit the White House, meet with congressional leaders