Regional
12:19 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

Las Cruces Officer Assaulted; Suspect Shot

Las Cruces – Las Cruces Police are investigating an early-morning assault on an officer that resulted in a laceration to the police officer's forehead and a gunshot wound to the suspect's abdomen.

Officer Edward Villarreal, a nine year veteran of the Las Cruces Police Department, was transported to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces where he received 17 stitches to his forehead. The suspect, 21-year-old Isaac Gutierrez, was taken to Mountain View Regional for a superficial grazing wound to his abdomen. Gutierrez has already been released from the hospital and is police custody.

Villarreal, 39, was released from the hospital and will be placed on paid administrative leave which is standard operating procedure for such an incident.

At around 3:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30, Las Cruces Police were summoned to a domestic-related battery at the Buena Vida Apartments at 1505 La Fonda Drive. The initial report indicated that a woman was being physically assaulted by a man following an evening of drinking at an area bar.

As officers approached a pickup believed to be carrying the suspect, Gutierrez exited the vehicle and started to run from police. Officer Villarreal gave chase into a dimly-lighted area near the apartment complex. Shortly thereafter officer Villarreal was struck by an object causing a deep laceration to his forehead. Villarreal responded by firing his duty weapon striking Gutierrez once.

Gutierrez is in police custody and charges against him are pending.

The incident is being investigated by the Las Cruces Officer-Involved Incident Task Force which is comprised of representatives from the New Mexico State Police, Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office, New Mexico State University Police and the Las Cruces Police Department. The task force is the primary investigatory body that investigates officer-involved shootings in Dona Ana County.