LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The Third Judicial District Attorney's Office concluded the actions of the Las Cruces Police officer who shot and killed an armed suspect were justified.
"After an extensive review of this case we have concluded that the shooting by Officer Kenneth Davis was justified under New Mexico law," said District Attorney Mark D'Antonio.
The July 17, 2017 shooting resulted in the death of 52-year-old Ernesto S. Sedillo of Las Cruces.
Police said Sedillo emerged from a vehicle pointing a handgun at officer Davis, a 4-year veteran of the Las Cruces Police Department. Police officials said Davis was wearing a lapel camera during the incident and video from it was key in exonerating the officer.
Shortly before 11:30 a.m. Monday, July 17, Las Cruces Police were called to investigate a suspicious person, possibly armed with a knife, on the 800 block of Delta Drive.
Police said Davis was the first officer to arrive and located Sedillo, who matched the description of the suspect, near a black Honda Accord parked along the 1800 block of Arizona Avenue.
As Davis approached the vehicle, Sedillo was already in the back seat of the Honda. As Davis walked up to the rear of the Honda, Sedillo partially emerged from the vehicle and pointed a handgun at the officer who responded by firing multiple rounds at the suspect.
The officer retreated to his patrol unit and called for backup, not knowing if the suspect was struck or still a threat. The investigation revealed that Davis fired eight rounds, four of which struck Sedillo.
Investigators learned that Sedillo's 9mm handgun had a loaded magazine but no round in the chamber. It's not known if Sedillo pulled the trigger or attempted to fire at officer Davis.
LCPD's SWAT team was activated after the shooting because officers believed Sedillo might still be a threat and was possibly barricaded in the Honda. After about an hour, the combined Las Cruces Police-New Mexico State Police SWAT team located Sedillo deceased in the back seat of the Honda. No shots were fired by any members of the SWAT team.
After the shooting, Davis was placed on administrative leave which is standard protocol for the Las Cruces Police Department. Davis returned to duty on July 24.
An investigation allegedly revealed Sedillo entered the backyard of a resident on the 800 block of Delta Drive. The resident confronted Sedillo, allegedly armed with a knife. The resident subsequently called 911 to report the incident and prompting the initial response from the Las Cruces Police Department.
Investigators recovered the 9mm handgun from Sedillo's vehicle. The knife was located in a sheath Sedillo was wearing, police said.