Photo courtesy of LCPD
A still image from a body cam of suspect Juan Gabriel Torres, who was shot multiple times by police.
Las Cruces Police are continuing to investigate the sequence of events that led to Sunday’s shooting on Lohman Avenue that resulted in the death of 36-year-old Juan Gabriel Torres.
Torres, of Las Cruces, was shot shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, after he lunged toward an officer on Lohman Avenue. Torres was transported to a local hospital where he died.
The incident began at about 3 p.m. when officers were dispatched to the report of a robbery and theft of a pickup at an address near the 1300 block of Lohman Avenue. Officers learned that the suspect stole a 2012 white Chevrolet pickup from an 86-year-old man and fled from the area.
At about 4:30 p.m., LCPD officers observed the white pickup as it drove by the initial crime scene. Officers began to pursue the truck as it headed east on Lohman Avenue but broke off the pursuit because of heavy traffic. A short time later, officers caught up with the truck that was abandoned in the eastbound lanes of traffic on Lohman, directly above I-25. The driver, later identified as Torres, had exited the pickup prior to officers arriving at the overpass.
Investigators later learned that Torres was armed with a large knife and holding a bottle of beer when he tried to open the door to at least one vehicle on Lohman Avenue.
Evidence shows the officers ordered Torres to drop the knife but he refused to do so. The officers discharged their weapons when Torres lunged toward one of the officers. Torres was struck multiple times.
No officers were injured during the incident. As is standard procedure, the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.
Other vehicles were on Lohman Avenue at the time of the incident. Investigators are still asking for witnesses from those vehicles to call police, at (575) 526-0795, with any information they may have.
The incident remains under investigation by Las Cruces Police and the Officer-involved Incident Task Force, which is standard protocol for a use of deadly force incident. The task force includes investigators from LCPD, New Mexico State Police, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State University Police.