Man killed in Las Cruces police shootout had prior weapons conviction

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Police have identified a man who was killed in a shootout that also injured three law enforcement officials in Las Cruces — and records show he has a prior conviction for use of a deadly weapon.

An LCPD spokesman on Tuesday said 35-year-old Francisco “Paco” Tarin, who had resided in both Las Cruces and Roswell, N.M., opened fire on authorities early Monday when an officer stopped to question him about a report of a man making threats to employees at a nearby Jack in the Box restaurant.

Two Las Cruces officers and a Dona Ana County sheriff’s deputy suffered non-life threatening injuries during multiple exchanges of gunfire with the suspect.

Records reviewed by ABC-7 show that Tarin previously served time in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Police spokesman Danny Trujillo said an officer responding to the suspicious person report shined his vehicle spotlight onto Tarin — who fired at the officer through his windshield before fleeing on foot. The incident happened about 2:20 a.m. Monday at Lohman Avenue and Nacho Drive.

At least one bullet struck the officer’s upper chest, near his neck, according to Trujillo. "The officer, alert but unaware of the extent of his injury, drove himself to Memorial Medical Center," he added.

Trujillo said LCPD, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police and the U.S. Border Patrol all responded to the report of the officer shot, and helped in the search for Tarin — who was located near a Home Depot store.

"Officers gave him multiple commands to surrender, but he refused to obey those commands. Officers also deployed less-lethal bean bag rounds, but they, too, were ineffective in gaining compliance," Trujillo explained on Tuesday.

The confrontation came to a close around 4 a.m. Monday when law enforcement fired at Tarin and struck him after he shot at authorities, Trujillo said.

Tarin was pronounced dead at the scene. A Las Cruces officer and a sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries in that final exchange of gunfire. Trujillo said the handgun Tarin used was recovered by police.

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