Man fatally shot by Española police in Walgreens parking lot

Jun. 11—A 28-year-old man was shot to death by police after hitting an officer with a stolen Jeep in a Walgreens parking lot in Española on Sunday.

Española Police Chief Mizel Garcia said at about 6:15 p.m., his department responded to a call of a stolen vehicle at Walgreens. As two officers approached the vehicle, the driver — later identified as Jeffrey Martinez — attempted to flee in the vehicle. As Martinez fled, he crashed into the store building and into one of the officers, who was later treated and released.

New Mexico State Police spokesman Wilson Silver said in an email the officer began giving verbal commands to Martinez when "at some point during the encounter, the officer discharged their duty weapon, striking Martinez." Garcia said "at least one officer" fired. Neither Silver nor Garcia said how many shots were fired.

Officers rendered aid to Martinez until paramedics arrived and took him to a local hospital, where he died, Silver said.

The incident shows how property crimes can be dangerous to police officers, Garcia told the Journal.

Garcia said the officers have been placed on administrative leave.

"I'm thankful my officers are safe," he said.

Silver said State Police Investigations Bureau agents are "working to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting."

"The New Mexico State Police acts solely as a factfinder in officer-involved shootings and does not determine whether an officer's actions were justified," Silver said. "That decision rests with the district attorney's office."