Three New Mexico officers opened fire on a man after mistakenly responding to the wrong address earlier this month – an incident that left the man dead, police said Friday as they released body camera footage from the shooting.
The Farmington Police Department released videos from body cameras worn by the officers who were involved in the April 5 incident, showing officers arriving at the home and announcing themselves before gunfire erupts.
The homeowner, 52-year-old Robert Dotson, was killed by police after they received a call about a domestic violence incident in the area around 11:30 p.m. Police mistakenly went to his home instead of a home across the street where the incident was reported, according to local and state police.
After no one answered their knocks on the door, police officers asked a dispatcher for clarity on the address and to call the person who reported the incident and ask them to come to the front door, authorities said.
After several knocks, Dotson opened the door of his home while armed with a handgun. Three officers opened fire, killing Dotson at the scene, according to New Mexico State Police, citing body camera footage.
The videos also show an interaction with Dotson’s wife who arrived at the door about a minute later armed with a handgun. Authorities say she exchanged gunfire with officers. She was not injured, police said.
The shooting is currently under investigation by the New Mexico State Police. The agency’s Investigations Bureau has been requested to probe the incident, state police said. Authorities say it’s still unclear why the officers responded to the wrong address.
“Obviously, that’s the worst part of this is trying to explain that,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said during a news conference Friday night, when asked about the mistaken address.
“I think that it happens, you can go to the wrong address sometimes,” Chief Hebbe said, “The results of it are terrible, but I will tell you that we do go to wrong addresses from time to time.”
Chief Hebbe says that he believes Dotson did aim his weapon at police.
The names of the officers involved in the incident have not been released and were redacted in the footage. Authorities say two of the officers have been with the department about five years and the third has been employed for about three.
All three officers are on administrative leave and are expected to be interviewed sometime next week.
“This one really hurts my heart,” Hebbe said.