A tragic incident unfolded in New Mexico earlier this month when three police officers mistakenly responded to the wrong address and fatally shot the homeowner, 52-year-old Robert Dotson. The Farmington Police Department released body camera footage from the April 5th incident on Friday, showing the officers arriving at Dotson's home and announcing themselves before the deadly exchange of gunfire.
According to local and state police, the officers were responding to a domestic violence call around 11:30 p.m. but inadvertently went to Dotson's home instead of the residence across the street where the incident had been reported. When no one answered the officers' knocks on the door, they requested clarity on the address from the dispatcher and asked for the person who reported the incident to come to the front door.
After several more knocks, Dotson, armed with a handgun, opened the door, prompting three officers to open fire and kill him at the scene. The released footage also revealed an interaction between the officers and Dotson's wife, who arrived at the door a minute later, also armed with a handgun. She reportedly exchanged gunfire with the officers but was not injured.
The New Mexico State Police is currently investigating the shooting, and its Investigations Bureau has been requested to examine the incident. It remains unclear why the officers responded to the wrong address. Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe addressed the mistaken address during a news conference on Friday, acknowledging the terrible outcome of such errors and noting that officers do occasionally go to wrong addresses.
Chief Hebbe believes that Dotson did aim his weapon at the police, based on the available evidence. The names of the officers involved have not been released and were redacted in the footage. Two of the officers have been with the department for approximately five years, while the third has been employed for around three years. All three are currently on administrative leave and are expected to be interviewed sometime next week.
In a somber reflection, Chief Hebbe said, "This one really hurts my heart."