Headlines this week and the new stories leading local radio, including KRAZY KALHRadio.org are all related to the community of Alamogordo morning the loss of Alamogordo Police Officer Anthony Ferguson.
Along with mourning there are mounting questions, as to how could the assailant be out on the streets? There are questions for the judiciary and questions for District Attorney Scot D Key.
The man who has been arrested in the fatal shooting of an Alamogordo Police officer had been involved in another officer-involved shooting earlier this year, so why was he on the streets? He is certainly dangerous.
The assailant, Dominic De La O, 26 of Alamogordo, has been arrested and is facing a series of felony charges in the fatal shooting of Alamogordo Police Officer Anthony Ferguson on July 15.
In looking at his criminal history, it's a repeat of a story of a failed judicial system with the present “arrest and release” and the no bail system that was implemented in 2016.
De La O is somebody that was very well known to local law enforcement, according to police sources.
Indictments range from driving under the influence to possession of a controlled substance.
A pull of his court records, however indicate that he may be well known, but there aren’t serious prior convictions in his history.
Court records show he was involved with a lawsuit in 2020, in Otero County, before Judge Ellen Jessen, case D-1215-DM-202000039. A summary judgment against him was issued. The case was filed by Human Services and Estella Nejeres V. Dominic De La O.
The company one keeps. Ms. Nejeres was involved in a battery case in 2021 under Judge Seacrest the case was dismissed with prejudice.
For Da La O his most serious situation happened on Jan. 29, 2023. Officers found De La O walking on a street with multiple warrants. A chase ensued, and police say the 26-year-old suspect pulled out a gun.
Officers then shot him.
He was clearly a threat to police officers to the point where he was shot by law enforcement for pulling a gun on them seven months ago.
De La O recovered at a hospital, and prosecutors soon charged him with negligent use of a firearm and resisting arrest. According to a court docket, he was supposed to be in court on July 12, but he never showed.
The judge handling this case then issued another warrant for his arrest that same day.
Three days later, police made the attempt, but at the cost of one's life. Officer Anthony Ferguson lost his life in a manner that was similar to January's incident after police say De La O shot him.
Many members of the Alamogordo community, including Mayor Susan Payne, thinks the District Attorney, and the judiciary needs to take a very serious look, at why this type of person, and in particular, this person, was out of jail and able to kill a police officer, when there was already evidence and a history of potential violence against police officers and others.
"It is my opinion that this person should have never been released," said Susan L. Payne, the mayor of Alamogordo.
Documents also show that De La O may have struggled with drug abuse. During the January incident, meth was found inside his jeans. Police soon questioned his mother, who admitted that he had been using the drug.
De La O is currently being held at the Otero County Detention Center.
"[An] unimaginable tragedy, losing one of our own, has happened again," Chief David Kunihiro, with the Alamogordo Police Department, said Monday during the press conference.
The Alamogordo Police Department has lost five officers in its history. Officer Anthony Ferguson was the most recent to die in the line of duty.
Until this weekend, it was Officer Clint Corvinus who died back in 2016. He was shot and killed while running after a wanted felon.
According to a news release sent out by Twelfth Judicial District Attorney Scot Key’s office, no formal charges have been filed against De La O as of yet.
According to the DA’s office, “the state is taking advantage of the fact that the defendant was arrested on a ‘no bond’ warrant in another pending felony case.”
“The defendant cannot get out of jail and the state will be presenting its case to the Otero County grand jury as early as next week,” according to the statement sent out by Key’s office. “It is anticipated that the charges will include first-degree murder.”
Twelfth Judicial District Attorney Scot D. Key‘s office released the following official statement…
“Twelfth Judicial District Attorney Scot D. Key Joins the Alamogordo Police Department and the Entire Law Enforcement Family in Mourning the Loss of APD Officer Anthony Ferguson.
District Attorney Key and the entire District Attorney’s Office staff extend their condolences to the Ferguson Family, the Alamogordo Police Department, and join the rest of the community in mourning the loss of Officer Ferguson.
There have been no criminal charges filed against the defendant at this time. The State is taking advantage of the fact that the defendant was arrested on a “no bond” warrant in another pending felony case. The defendant cannot get out of jail and the State will be presenting the case to the Otero County Grand Jury as early as next week. It is anticipated that the charges will include first degree murder.
DA Key continues to work with multiple Law Enforcement agencies to ensure a full investigation is conducted and charges are precisely presented to the Grand Jury. The US Attorney’s Office and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have both been contacted about the incident and it appears there could be additional federal charges against the defendant. DA Key expects to present this case to a Grand Jury as early as next week and after that a charging document will be made available.
The 12th Judicial District is a small, united community and a multitude of people have been gravely affected by the shooting and loss of Officer Ferguson. As we continue to work on this case with our justice partners, we will focus on Officer Ferguson’s family and our law enforcement officers, with whom we grieve through this tragedy.”
Specific to “arrest and release”, the fact is during Republican Governor Susana Martinez’s term, the system was launched with overwhelming public support via a state constitutional amendment. Gov. Susana Martinez during her tenure called for “repeal and replacement” of the state’s constitutional amendment on bail reform. She called for a system of reform as has the present governor. But the New Mexico Legislature’s committee on criminal justice, to date, has yet to figure out for itself, what, exactly to do.
Governor Michele Lejune Grisham inherited a broken system and has made no progress. So 7 years after instituting the system no improvements have occurred and the legislature ignores calls for reform.
Stay tuned as the stories of the Alamogordo community continue and evolve, streaming to KALHRadio.org radio news with Anthony Lucero streaming daily and available by podcast and read online at AlamogordoTownNews.com.
(If you read our stories, listen to our streaming or podcast please help support community news and radio. Join us to subscribe and support community journalism)