Regional
9:33 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

UPDATE: Investigation Into Las Cruces Officer Assault

Las Cruces – Las Cruces Police and a multi-agency incident task force are continuing to investigate Friday morning's assault on an officer that resulted in wounds to the officer and suspect.

Detectives are still investigating the actions of 21-year-old Isaac Gutierrez and two other men who were with him at the time of this morning's incident. Gutierrez has already been charged with violating terms of his probation. Additional charges are pending.

LCPD officer Edward Villarreal received at least 17 stitches to his forehead after he was struck in the head by some unknown object. Gutierrez received a superficial graze wound to his abdomen.

Villarreal, 39, is a nine year veteran of the Las Cruces Police Department. He was released from the hospital and has been placed on paid administrative leave which is standard operating procedure for such an incident.

At around 3:30 a.m. on 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 physically assaulted by a man following an evening of drinking at an area bar.

As officers approached a pickup believed to be carrying the assault suspect, Gutierrez and the two other passengers exited the vehicle and started to run. 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.

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. Also assisting the investigation is a representative from the Third Judicial District Attorney's office. The task force is the primary investigatory body for officer-involved shootings in Dona Ana County.