LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The District Attorney's Office in the 12th Judicial District finalized the investigation into the deadly shooting that left an Alamogordo police officer and a suspect dead in September 2016.
Investigators said Officer Clint Corvinus and a fellow officer were pursuing 38-year-old Joseph Moreno on the 1600 block of South Florida Avenue. Moreno allegedly had five active warrants for his arrest on charges of Felon in Possession of a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Residential Burglary, and Escape From Custody.
Investigators said Corvinus was field training officer Christopher Welch, on the job for 10 months, when he recognized Moreno. A chase ensued and Officer Corvinus and Moreno both exchange gunfire.
District Attorney John Sugg said an investigation found Joseph Moreno shot and killed officer Clint Corvinus during the foot pursuit.
Sugg said Officer Welch was justified in shooting and killing Moreno. Officer Welch fired a total of eight rounds and Moreno fired five rounds, both in "successive fashion," officials said.
JOSEPH MORENO (MUGSHOT FROM PREVIOUS ARREST)
"Officer Welch had probable cause to believe that Moreno continued to pose a threat of serious or deadly harm to himself, Officer Corvinus, and members of the public when he shot Moreno the second time killing him. Accordingly, District Attorney John P. Sugg has determined that Officer Welch was justified in shooting and killing Joseph Moreno. The case will be closed with no further action," a release from the district attorney's office stated.
The Office of Medical Investigator completed an autopsy of Officer Corvinus and found the bullet entered through the right arm and traveled through the chest cavity striking both lungs and the carotid artery.
OMI completed an autopsy of Moreno and determined a bullet entered the back of Moreno's skull traveling through the brain and cervical spine. Moreno was also found to have methamphetamine and marijuana in his system at the time of his death, investigators said.
While officers attended a wounded Moreno, an APD Lieutenant placed the firearm allegedly used by Moreno on the hood of a nearby APD patrol unit.
The firearm had not been secured from the hood when the officer driving that patrol unit left the scene, investigators said. The patrol unit drove away from the scene with the firearm still on the hood of the vehicle.
The firearm was subsequently located in the area of First and Cuba and the APD Lieutenant who placed the firearm on the hood of the patrol unit was escorted by a New Mexico State Police sergeant to First and Cuba, where he identified the weapon as being the firearm recovered at the scene from Moreno.
The firearm was turned over to special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF identified the firearm as a Ruger, model SP101, .357 Magnum revolver. The serial number on the firearm had been removed.
ATF analysts were able to restore the serial number and determined the firearm had been reported stolen on November 24, 2015 from a vehicle in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The firearm was then submitted to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Forensic Laboratory Division (SLD) for fingerprint, DNA and firearm analyses.
Investigators said attempts to retrieve latent print impressions from the firearm were unsuccessful and Moreno's DNA was not found on the firearm.
A forensic scientist determined the bullet recovered from Officer Corvinus's body was fired from the Ruger, model SP101, .357 Magnum revolver recovered from Moreno at the scene.
Investigators said the black bag Moreno retrieved the firearm from was located next to his person and was found to have ten additional unspent .38 Special rounds inside.