LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A New Mexico sheriff’s deputy accused of killing a fellow deputy fired several rounds from his semi-automatic weapon as his colleague tried to flee an alcohol-fueled argument at a hotel, police said Tuesday.
The shooting happened just after midnight at the Hotel Encanto in the southern New Mexico city of Las Cruces, police said. The Santa Fe County deputies had just transported a prisoner to Arizona and were heading back to Santa Fe, nearly 300 miles from the hotel, officials said.
Jeremy Martin, 29, was pronounced dead at MountainView Regional Medical Center, and detectives were interviewing the other deputy, a 27-year-old man, police said. His name has not been released.
The deputies went to Dublin’s Street Pub where they drank and got into an argument, which escalated at the hotel, investigators said.
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As Martin tried to flee into an elevator, several rounds were fired, authorities said.
Police arrived at the hotel and found Martin staggering off the elevator with multiple wounds, Las Cruces Police spokesman Dan Trujillo said. He said it was not known how many times he was shot.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia said that his department was grieving.
“I have grief counselors or crisis counselors here now meeting with a lot of my personnel, but it’s a grieving law enforcement agency,” Garcia said.
He said the victim had been a deputy for 2 1/2 years, and the other was on the force for three years.
At an emotional press conference, Garcia called both deputies “hardworking, committed individuals.”
“I’m lost,” Garcia said. “I’m at loss for words.”