Santa Fe, NM

A Woman Fatally Shot Herself in Police Officers' Presence

Daniella Cressman
"Santa Fe police body camera video released Monday in response to a public records request corroborates initial reports from police that a woman took her own life last month while in the presence of officers." —Nathan Lederman

On August 13, police officers were called to a residence on Willow Way.

"Police were called Aug. 13 to a residence on Willow Way, in a neighborhood between Agua Fría Street and Airport Road, by a man who reported 36-year-old Melanie Garcia, who lived at his home, was destroying property there and should be removed. But Garcia had left by the time officers arrived around 9:20 p.m., according to a news release issued the following day." —Nathan Lederman

In footage released on Monday, officers were shown interviewing a homeowner who said he had been living with Garcia at his residence on and off for around four years—he alleged that Garcia had been stealing from him and had damaged his property.

"In the footage released Monday, officers are shown interviewing a homeowner who said he had been living with Garcia 'on and off' at his residence for about four years. The resident alleged Garcia had been stealing from him and had caused damage to his property and vehicle." —Nathan Lederman

Garcia shot herself.

As the two officers talked with the man outside his home, Garcia returned, brandishing a handgun.

"Video from both officers’ body cameras showed Garcia approach them with the firearm. They gave her verbal commands to set it down. As one of the officers prepared to deploy his stun gun, Garcia brought the weapon to her mouth. The video shows the stun gun was deployed at nearly the same moment Garcia shot herself. After the incident, New Mexico State Police began investigating the shooting as the death of a person in police custody, though Garcia had not been handcuffed or arrested. Lt. Mark Soriano, a state police spokesman, said the characterization of Garcia’s death was because officers were present when it occurred." —Nathan Lederman

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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