Published: 1:17 pm, Fri. Mar. 3rd, 2017Updated: 1:16 pm
The Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office has cleared the Artesia Police Department of any wrongdoing in connection with last summer’s officer-involved shooting.
DA Dianna Luce released her findings Friday afternoon, as detailed in a letter issued last month to Agent Edward Aranda.
The incident occurred just before noon on July 26, 2016, after APD officers were dispatched to the area of West Runyan Avenue and Sixth Street in reference to shots fired and armed subject calls.
There, officers encountered Juan Reynaldo “John” Duran, 36, of Artesia, who was armed with a pair of firearms.
According to the DA’s letter, the first officers on scene were Beth Hahn and Antonio Baca. As Hahn prepared her rifle and took cover on the passenger side of her police unit, Baca gave commands for Duran to drop his weapon, the letter states.
Luce writes Duran was visible on video moving forward from between a SUV and RV trailer parked along the curb. In the video, Duran moves back out of view of the camera and throws a firearm to the ground, at which time commands were issued for him to throw down the second firearm.
“Mr. Duran continues to move up and back between the vehicles raising his arm parallel to the ground and appears to be holding a handgun,” the letter reads. “Officer Hahn fires her rifle one time striking Mr. Duran.”
The letter says NMSP findings from the investigation of the scene were consistent with both witness cell phone and dash cam videos.
Duran’s autopsy revealed a single gunshot wound resulting in death, and his toxicology report determined .09mg of methamphetamine were present in his system.
“Based on a review of all of the evidence, we do not find any wrong doing on the part of the officers involved in the incident,” Luce writes. “The officers acted within the scope of their authority.”
The APD was contacted Friday but was unable to comment due to pending litigation.