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Farmington police shoot and kill armed man

Reports say officers asked the man several times to put down his weapon
The Farmington Police Department released images from the body cams of two officers who shot and killed 21-year-old Charlie Thompson on Saturday. Thompson was armed with a gun. (Courtesy of Farmington Police Department)

Farmington police officers shot and killed 21-year-old Charlie Thompson on Saturday evening, after the armed man reportedly moved his weapon toward the officer who had asked him several times to put the gun down.

The San Juan County Regional Officer Involved Shooting Task Force is investigating the shooting, according to a post on the Farmington Police Department blog.

About 4:50 p.m. Saturday, officers approached a stopped vehicle in a parking lot near the 1700 block of East 20th Street. They suspected Thompson who was wanted on several felony charges was inside, the blog said.

As officers tried to contact Thompson in the vehicle, he left the vehicle and ran across 20th Street, reportedly carrying a firearm.

The Farmington Police Department released an image from an officer’s body cam that shows 21-year-old Charlie Thompson holding a weapon in his right hand before reportedly raising it toward officers on Saturday. (Courtesy of Farmington Police Department)

Officers followed Thompson until he stopped on Yucca Avenue near Sage Drive. According to a news release, the officers asked Thompson several times to put down his weapon. He eventually moved the gun toward the officers, and two officers fired.

Officers immediately rendered aid to Thompson and called for paramedics. He was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center, where he died. The two police officers have been put on administrative leave during the investigation.

Farmington Police said in the release the incident remains under investigation and anyone with any information is asked to contact the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re canvassing the area right now for any witnesses,” Farmington Police Department Chief Steve Hebbe said in a video. “If you saw anything in the vicinity of 20th Street, around Defined Fitness is where the incident started, give us a call.”

The Shooting Task Force handles officer-involved shootings in the area. It is made up of investigators from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, and the Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield police departments.

“I would remind you that this is only three months since the last time a subject with a gun, in that case shot our officer,” Hebbe said in the video. “This is happening way too frequently. I’m very disappointed that we’re here again so soon, and I’m very relieved that our officers weren’t injured in the course of this.”

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Hebbe was referring to an incident on Jan. 7 in which officer Joseph Barreto suffered a gunshot wound trying to conduct a stop for a suspected drunken driver. The man suspected of shooting Barreto was Elias Buck, who had escaped La Plata County Jail a week earlier.

Buck was captured Jan. 14 in Phoenix and jailed in the San Juan County Adult Detention Center in Farmington on charges including aggravated battery on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, fleeing law enforcement and resisting arrest.

The Farmington Police Department released images from the body cams of two officers who shot and killed 21-year-old Charlie Thompson who was armed with a gun on Saturday. An investigation continues into the officer-involved shooting of Thompson. The Farmington Police Department will release the full body cam footage of the incident. (Courtesy of Farmington Police Department)

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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