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Witness who intervened in officer’s killing comes forward


Las Cruces police on Thursday disclosed the identity of the witness who intervened during the assault of officer Jonah Hernandez and killed the assailant, Armando Silva.

In an apparent effort to head off rumors circulating in the community, LCPD Chief Jeremy Story read a statement from Isaiah Astorga, produced as a video posted to the department’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The statement, released through attorney Luis Robles, followed a decision by the District Attorney’s office not to pursue charges against Astorga, who before Thursday had not been named by authorities in the aftermath of Hernandez’s death on Feb. 11.

Astorga stated that he witnessed the attack on the police officer at 335 S. Valley Drive, near the intersection of W. Amador Avenue, and saw that the assailant “was in complete control of the altercation.” He then states that he was concerned the attacker, identified by police as Silva, might obtain Hernandez’s handgun, and decided to arm himself with his own firearm, located in his car. He said he approached the struggle and yelled at the attacker to stop, and fired his weapon on the attacker as the latter approached him “in a threatening manner.”

Later, after shooting the attacker, Astorga said he attempted to render aid to Hernandez, while another unidentified witness “helped me try to control the situation and radioed to dispatch the events that had happened.”

Hernandez was transported to a local hospital, according to police, and died of his wounds, saying Silva attacked Hernandez with a kitchen knife.

Astorga’s statement requested privacy for him and his girlfriend, describing the events of that night as “extreme traumatic.” He also requested that the public “refrain from allowing false information to take control of what the true events are.”

Body-worn camera footage, which might have captured how the encounter began, has not been released by the city.


The full statement from Astorga appears below:


“On February 11, 2024, I witnessed an individual attacking an officer at 335 South Valley Drive. I saw that the individual who was attacking the officer was in complete control of the altercation. I made the decision that I was going to go try to stop the altercation, but I was afraid that the individual attacking the officer could make the decision to disarm the officer of his service weapon. So, I decided to arm myself with my handgun that I keep in my car, for protection. I then ran towards the fight with the hope of stopping it. As I was approaching, I could see that the officer was bleeding severely from the neck area while continuing to be attacked. I yelled for the attacking individual to stop. However, in a threatening manner, the individual who attacked the officer turned and advanced towards me. Due to the severe bleeding from the officer, I knew that the individual approaching me had a weapon. Fearing for my life, my girlfriend’s life, and the officer’s life, I fired my handgun. When I felt that it was safe to do so, I tried my best to aid the injured officer. A good citizen who partially witnessed these events helped me try to control the situation and radioed to dispatch the events that had happened.
“On February 11, 2024, a tragedy occurred that should have never happened. I, unfortunately, had the burden of being a part of that tragedy, and it will follow me the rest of my life.  I truly wish that the events that happened that day never occurred. If I could go back in time and prevent any of this from happening, I would in a heartbeat. My heart goes out to family, friends, and every single person who has been affected. I hope that as a community, we can help each other to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.
As time moves forward and more information becomes available, I hope that everyone can be respectful to those who were directly and indirectly involved. Please refrain from allowing false information to take control of what the true events are. This was an extremely traumatic event.  Please understand that me and my girlfriend need time to cope with what happened and heal from it.
“I know that there will always be questions that come from a situation like this. However, I would greatly appreciate it if everyone respected my privacy, so I can continue to focus on my mental health and move forward.”

Officer Jonah Hernandez, witness, Armando Silva, killing