The man suspected in Monday morning’s incident that resulted in injuries to three law enforcement officers and the temporary closure of several businesses has been positively identified as 35-year-old Francisco “Paco” Tarin.
Tarin, who has resided in Las Cruces and Roswell, N.M., is suspected of shooting at a marked Las Cruces Police Department unit, striking the officer inside of it, and then shooting at several officers who were attempting to take him into custody. Officers from four agencies – LCPD, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police and the U.S. Border Patrol – discharged their service-issued weapons and Tarin was struck multiple times.
Tarin was pronounced dead at the scene. Two of the officers were injured in the exchange of gunfire. Those two officers, an LCPD officer and a DASO deputy, received relatively minor injuries. The handgun Tarin used was recovered by police.
The incident began about 2 a.m. Monday, June 17, when Las Cruces police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious individual at the Jack in the Box restaurant, at 501 S. Telshor Blvd. Employees of the restaurant indicated the man was acting in a threatening manner. The officer who responded obtained a description of the subject and proceeded to look for him.
About 2:20 a.m. the officer spotted a man matching the description near the intersection of Lohman Avenue and Nacho Drive. As the officer, in his marked unit, shined a spotlight on the man, the suspect opened fire on the officer. At least one round penetrated the police unit’s windshield and struck the officer’s upper chest, near his neck.
The officer alerted dispatch to the situation and gave a description of the subject who was on foot and fleeing toward the nearby Home Depot store. The officer, alert but unaware of the extent of his injury, drove himself to Memorial Medical Center. His injuries were not life-threatening.
Law enforcement officers from several agencies responded to the call for assistance and located the suspect near The Home Depot. 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. The incident came to a close shortly before 4 a.m. when the suspect opened fire on the officers.
Agencies involved in the investigation include NMSP, LCPD, DASO, New Mexico State University Police, FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the DHS Office of the Inspector General. Names of the officers will not be disclosed at this time. As is common practice, law enforcement officers involved in a shooting are placed on standard administrative leave pending investigation.
Police closed several large parking lots near where the incident occurred. That forced the temporary closure of several nearby businesses. The Home Depot, the business closest to where the final incident occurred, was closed throughout the day but has since been cleared to open.
Information from Las Cruces Police