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Man shot by SF police wasn’t firing gun, but drove at officers

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico State Police now say the man shot in the face by Santa Fe police late Thursday wasn’t shooting at police before he was fired on by officers – as the State Police had said in initial reports earlier today.

Also, the latest information is that there were four other people – including a young child – in the car with the man who was shot.

According to the new police reports, the man who was shot, 25-year-old Roberto Mendez, was not firing at two Santa Fe Police officers at the Calle La Resolana and Cerrillos Road Allsup’s gas station just before midnight on Thursday.

Instead, Mendez is accused of putting a stolen vehicle in reverse and ramming one of the city police cruisers. Then he drove toward the officers in an attempt to flee the parking lot. It was here that the officers opened fire. All of the shots occurred at Allsup’s, according to State Police.

Mendez then drove the vehicle to the intersection of Cerrillos and Siler Road and came to a stop. Police learned he had a gunshot wound that went in his mouth and out his cheek, according to Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez.

State Police reported earlier that the suspect in the stolen vehicle now identified as Mendez was also shooting during the incident. Gutierrez said that was incorrect and that it was based on preliminary information

Mendez was in the car with two females, another male and a four-year-old boy, according to a State Police atatement. No one else in the vehicle was injured, though the other male, whom police have not identified, tried to run and was apprehended by officers.

The suspect vehicle, a 2003 green Ford Explorer, had been reported stolen earlier in the day, according to city police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt.

Westervelt was not sure if the two officers spotted the stolen vehicle or if someone reported seeing it at the gas station. Westervelt said the driver of the stolen vehicle tried to ram police at the gas station.

Mendez, who has a long criminal record,  was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Hospital, then transferred to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, according to the police statement. He is expected to survive.

One of the officers had minor injuries, not related to the shooting, Westervelt said. She would not go into detail about what those injuries were.

The two officers are on paid administrative leave for three days while city police conduct an internal investigation.