Police: Man shot had aimed rifle at officers - Albuquerque Journal

Police: Man shot had aimed rifle at officers

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Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputies and Bernalillo Police officers say the man they shot in Bernalillo on Monday afternoon had pointed a rifle at them.

Gary Lee DeSanctis, a 51-year-old from Rio Rancho, was killed.

The New Mexico State Police investigations bureau is investigating.

Officer Ray Wilson, a State Police spokesman, said around 3:30 p.m. deputies and officers were called to Bosque Loop, near the Rio Grande, by a woman who said a man was on her property and was armed with a rifle. Wilson did not say if the women knew the man – DeSanctis.

When officers arrived, DeSanctis got into a truck and began to drive, Wilson said. The officers told him to get out.

“DeSanctis got out of the truck holding the rifle, and additional commands were given to drop the rifle,” he said. “He refused commands and pointed the rifle toward the officers. BPD officers and SCSO deputies discharged their duty weapons, fatally striking him.”

Wilson said investigators later learned that “DeSanctis made statements to the homeowner indicating that he wanted a fatal confrontation with law enforcement.”

Two days before he was killed, DeSanctis had another interaction with police that could have turned deadly. That encounter started when he was reported missing by his wife.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Sandoval County Magistrate Court, DeSanctis attacked a Rio Rancho police officer and tried to grab his gun. He was charged with battery on a peace officer, resisting an officer and disarming a peace officer.

A little before 3 p.m. on that Saturday, DeSanctis’ wife had called police to report him missing – saying he had not returned from a walk and didn’t have his wallet or cellphone. She said he was on heart medication and antidepressants and had been “acting strangely lately.”

The Journal could not reach DeSanctis’s wife Tuesday.

She said her brother-in-law had called her and said DeSanctis had borrowed a cellphone and asked to be picked up from a house in Bernalillo. But when the brother arrived, DeSanctis was no longer there.

A Rio Rancho police officer went to that neighborhood and saw DeSanctis walk up behind his car. The officer spoke with him, then called his wife and offered to let him sit in the back seat of the car while they waited for her to arrive.

“After patting Gary down thinking he was going to get into the back of my patrol unit, Gary attacked me attempting to get my duty-issued handgun and taken me to the ground,” the officer wrote in the complaint. “I was able to push Gary away from me and take his hands off of my handgun and create distance.”

He said he told DeSanctis to get on the ground but instead he came toward him so he used a stun gun on him. Bernalillo Police officers arrived to help and DeSanctis tried to get up and rush at the officer again so he was stunned again. The officers put him in handcuffs and called for assistance from medical. He was released pending trial.

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