U.S. marshal gives reason for man's death

Officers opened fire in West El Paso, killing a man after he tried to attack them.

Juan Olivas was shot by federal officers around2Wednesday afternoon at the Casa Barranca Apartments on Resler Drive.

His wife, who witnessed his death with their one-year-old daughter, blamed the officers when she described the scene.

"I was getting in the car and they just started shooting at him, they didn't tell us who they were," Olivas said. "I just think what they did was not right. They just left him there to die."

But there's more to the story according to U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte who sat down with me to sort out the facts. He says after tips lead to the discovery of the Las Cruces fugitive's car, officers waited until Olivas left the apartment to move in. That's when Olivas got into his car.

"My deputies approached Mr. Olivas, identified themselves and yelled out 'police' several times, and ordered him to stop and exit the vehicle," Almonte said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Olivas ignored those orders and proceeded to accelerate the vehicle and go directly toward one of my deputies. My deputies, fearing for his life opened fire and unfortunately resulting in the death of Mr. Olivas. "

His wife told ABC-7 officers left Olivas there to die, but Almonte says, Olivas continued to drive after being shot, leading officers to believe he left the apartments. They went to follow him onto Mesa, but soon discovered he had crashed in the rear of the complex. Once they found him, they called emergency services.

"It's understandable that the subject's wife and daughter are going to be upset, there's no doubt about it," Almonte said. "Their father and husband is dead. But that doesn't change what caused this to occur.The bottom line is had Mr. Simply obeyed the officers commands, none of this would have happened."

Olivas had warrants for car theft, aggravated assault and credit card fraud in both Las Cruces and El Paso.

Almonte says law enforcement officers do have the right to defend anyone in harms way by using deadly force.


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