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NM cop is charged with murder after shocking video showed him shooting grandmother three times as she was driving away

A New Mexico cop who shot a grandmother three times as she tried to driveaway during his questioning has been charged with murder. 

Felipe Hernandez, an eight-year veteran of the Las Cruces Police Department, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning for the October 3 shooting.

Teresa Gomez, 45, was stopped by Hernandez around 5 am after she parked her car at a public housing complex with her friend Jesus Garcia, 38, who Hernandez recognized from other encounters. 

The officer started to accuse Garcia of trespassing and violating a judge’s order as he spoke to Gomez about the situation. The grandmother tried to drive away from the scene as Hernandez shouted at her to stop just before he shot and killed her. 

‘From the very beginning of Mr. Hernandez’s interaction with Ms. Gomez, the ability to manage protocol is non-existent. His interactions with her, just on a human level, was exceptionally subpar and certainly did not meet the standards that LCPD demands of its officers,’ Doña Ana County District Attorney Gerald Byers said in a press conference. 

Felipe Hernandez, an eight-year veteran of the Las Cruces Police Department turned himself in on Tuesday morning for shooting and killing Teresa Gomez, 45, on October 3rd

Felipe Hernandez, an eight-year veteran of the Las Cruces Police Department turned himself in on Tuesday morning for shooting and killing Teresa Gomez, 45, on October 3rd

Gomez was stopped by Officer Hernandez after he recognized the passenger in her car as Julio Garcia, who he accused of trespassing at the housing complex they were parked at

Gomez was stopped by Officer Hernandez after he recognized the passenger in her car as Julio Garcia, who he accused of trespassing at the housing complex they were parked at 

In nine-minute bodycam footage starts as Hernandez pulls Gomez over he asks her to roll her window down and open the door, as she tells him that she was trying to locate her keys. 

The passenger, Garcia, then pulls out a paintball gun from his waist as Hernandez asks the driver to step out of the car. 

‘I don’t need to step out,’ Gomez says. 

‘Step out now or I will pull you out,’ Hernandez responds. 

Gomez then tells the officer that she wants to ‘see his sergeant’ and continues to refuse to get out of her vehicle. 

The officer then starts to use aggressive language and profanities and threatens to ‘tase’ her until Gomez eventually gets out.

Gomez steps to the side of the car as Hernandez shines his flashlight back on Garcia as he moves the paintball gun in the car.

‘I’m not doing nothing,’ Garcia says. 

Gomez explained she was searching for her lost car keys and that she was looking for her friend ‘Butterfly.’

The officer began to question their presence outside the public housing complex, claiming that her passenger is not supposed to be there. Gomez remained fairly calm throughout the exchange and went on to explain that she was unaware of any specific violations. 

Hernandez then asks her why she was in the housing complex at that time and aggressively tells her: ‘I will really, really make your life a living hell’ and threatens to tow her car. 

The grandmother then tells him that she was visiting guests before the officer informs her that visitors are only allowed in the complex during certain times. 

Garcia is seen in the car as Hernandez shines the light on him. The officer said that the passenger knew he was not allowed to be in the area and was violating a judge's orders

Garcia is seen in the car as Hernandez shines the light on him. The officer said that the passenger knew he was not allowed to be in the area and was violating a judge’s orders

Gomez was more than compliant with the officer and said that she was not aware that her friend was not allowed to be there

Gomez was more than compliant with the officer and said that she was not aware that her friend was not allowed to be there

After eventually finding her car keys Gomez went on to listen to the officer and repeatedly shakes her head and says ‘sorry.’ 

She then asks the officer if she can get back in her vehicle as the officer gives her permission to enter the vehicle. 

The doting grandmother from New Mexico was shot dead by Hernandez as he fired shots at her as she attempted to speed away in her car

The doting grandmother from New Mexico was shot dead by Hernandez as he fired shots at her as she attempted to speed away in her car

Moments later, with her car door still open, she looks directly at the officer, starts the engine and backs out of her parking spot as Hernandez is busy writing in his notepad. 

Hernandez responds by shouting at her to stop several times before opening fire three times, striking Gomez.

Gomez began bleeding from her neck and struggled to breathe before she was taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Garcia was not injured but was arrested on misdemeanor and felony warrants.  

A wrongful death lawsuit has now been filed by her family alleging excessive force in violation of her civil rights.

Gomez’s family are struggling to understand how she came to be killed during what had been a relatively straightforward encounter.

‘If you’ve seen the video, the beginning – with just how the officer was talking to my mom – … for any son, daughter, mother, father, like, it’s hard to see someone, a grown man, talk to your mom like that – and that wasn’t even the worst part,’ her son, Johny Gomez, told CNN. 

Officer Felipe Hernandez could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted

Hernandez, an eight year veteran with the force, has been put on administrative leave until the investigation is over

Officer Felipe Hernandez could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The eight-year veteran with the force has been put on administrative leave until the investigation is over

Gomez (center) is seen with son Johny Gomez (in white) and other family members. Her family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging excessive force in violation of her civil rights

Gomez (center) is seen with son Johny Gomez (in white) and other family members. Her family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging excessive force in violation of her civil rights

Doña Ana County District Attorney Gerald Byers (speaking) said Hernandez's 'interactions' with Gomez 'was exceptionally subpar and certainly did not meet the standards that LCPD demands of its officers'

Doña Ana County District Attorney Gerald Byers (speaking) said Hernandez’s ‘interactions’ with Gomez ‘was exceptionally subpar and certainly did not meet the standards that LCPD demands of its officers’ 

‘We didn’t understand at what point it went wrong because it didn’t seem like it could go wrong,’ Teresa Gomez’s sister, Angela Lozano-Gutierrez added. 

‘From everything that happened, it seemed like it was kind of, like, getting to the part where they were just going to let her go. And so, it was just shocking that it ended with her dying.’

The Las Cruces Police Department has since revealed that Officer Hernandez was previously involved in several use-of-force incidents prior to this. 

Hernandez has since been put on administrative leave until the investigation is finalized. He could face up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of the murder. 

The family’s attorney, Sharron Kennedy said: ‘The Las Cruces Police Department’s lack of internal oversight and supervision has allowed a culture of aggression to develop, promoting an acceptance of unlawful use of deadly force contributing to the preventable death of Teresa Gomez.’ 

 

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