New Mexico

TAI CHAN RETRIAL: Sheriff's Office major discusses Chan's firearm training

TAI CHAN RETRIAL: Sheriff's Office...

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The jury in the murder retrial of Tai Chan got a better idea of the firearm training Chan received during his time as a Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy.

Chan is accused of shooting and killing fellow deputy Jeremy Martin after an argument in 2014. It happened while the men were spending the night at the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces after transporting a prisoner to Arizona.

Chan's first trial ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The first witness called to testify by the prosecution was Santa Fe Sheriff's Office Major Gabriel Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said Chan and another deputy, not Martin, were originally supposed to go on the transport together, but the other deputy fell ill.

Gonzalez said Martin volunteered to go instead, adding he was always volunteering to work overtime.

The prosecution argues Chan shot at Martin multiple times as Martin was running away. Gonzalez said it is against department policy to discharge a firearm at someone fleeing.

The defense argued deputies are trained how to confront an armed assailant. They are also trained on how to disarm them. Gonzalez said deputies are trained to fire on the threat, until the threat is stopped.

Deputy District Attorney Gerald Byers asked Gonzalez if "there a normal distance is associated with that?"

Gonzalez replied, "It's a weapon retention move for me. If you're within reaching distance to grab my hands - hands are what kill."

Byers later asked Gonzalez, "What is the policy for using a firearm while under the influence of alcohol?"

Gonzalez replied, "You aren't supposed to use a firearm while under the influence of alcohol."

During the first trial, witnesses who spent the evening with Chan and Martin in Las Cruces said the deputies had been drinking and arguing.

The defense argues Martin and Chan got into a fight and a struggle for a weapon ensued. Chan shot Martin in self-defense, the defense attorney said during opening arguments.


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