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John Duran

John Duran

Family members and friends of the man killed Tuesday morning in a confrontation with Artesia police say they are still trying to come to grips with the surreality of the situation.

Juan Reynaldo Duran, 36, known to most as John, was shot late Tuesday morning on West Runyan Avenue in the area of Heath and Sixth streets following an encounter with Artesia Police Department officers called to the scene by 911 reports of an active shooter and a man armed with a gun.

According to the New Mexico State Police, the investigating agency for the incident, officers found Duran holding two firearms. In the course of the encounter, shots were fired by at least one APD officer, and Duran was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Witnesses in the area report seeing Duran walking down Runyan Avenue with the weapons. They say he was yelling and appeared to be in an agitated state.

What led him to that state is a painful mystery for those who describe him as a generally happy and loving father.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Duran’s aunt, Lola Chavarria, told the Daily Press Thursday. “It just keeps crossing our minds: why, why, why. Why did it happen, and what happened?”

Chavarria said she spoke with Duran the day before the incident and that he seemed to be in high spirits.

“He was very happy,” she said. “He didn’t show signs of anything going on. No one was aware of any problems he was having.”

As the investigation into the incident is ongoing by the NMSP, details are limited. Officers involved have been placed on standard paid leave in accordance with APD policy, and the NMSP has said their names will not be released until interviews have been conducted.

Chavarria says her family also includes members of law enforcement and that they, too, are in shock.

“We have so many questions we know they can’t answer for us because of the investigation,” Chavarria said. “I know we’ll get them later, but only God knows what happened at this point.”

Duran’s family members will be holding a car wash fundraiser Saturday on the east side of Terry’s Electronics at 13th and Main streets as well as an enchilada dinner Saturday, Aug. 6, at West Main Baptist Church to help defray funeral costs. For more information, contact Chavarria at 308-1453.

Chavarria says the family has been touched by the outpouring of support they’ve received from the community in the wake of the incident.

“We want to thank the community, because we’ve been given so much support,” she said. “We’ve had the PD show their support, the public schools for the kids… just people from all over, different companies, churches. Everybody’s in shock, but we thank them for being there when we need them most.”