Authorities in northwestern New Mexico released body camera footage of the police officers on Friday Shooting and killing A homeowner showed up at the wrong address when they responded to a domestic violence call.
Video released by the Farmington Police Department — just over a week after the April 5 night shooting — shows officers arriving at the home. They walk up to the front door, past the home’s posted address and illuminated by an exterior light, knock on the door and announce themselves.
While knocking two more times, officers can be heard asking a dispatcher to confirm the address and tell the caller to come to the door. The sender says the address of a house across the street.
Farmington Police Department via AP
It was then that the homeowner, armed with a handgun, opened the door and officers immediately opened fire, firing multiple rounds as they backed away. The man is seen falling to the ground.
About a minute later, a woman was heard screaming inside the home and more gunshots were heard.
Authorities said the man’s wife fired from the door, not knowing who was outside, prompting officers to fire again. He was not injured but was heard screaming and crying after the second shot.
Dispatchers also received a frantic 911 call from the man’s daughter, saying she heard a bang and then a gunshot and that her father needed help.
“There was a gunshot in the house and my dad passed away,” she told 911 dispatchers.
She and two other children were inside the home when the shooting took place.
The video shows a chaotic scene unfolding about 4 minutes after officers first arrived at the wrong address. When the gunfire stopped, sirens could be heard as more officers arrived.
The homeowner’s wife can be heard pleading with officers. “Help! Someone shot my husband. Please! Please! My kids are upstairs,” she said.
Officers told him to come outside and one yelled for him to be handcuffed as he was led away from the house.
Farmington police said why officers contacted the wrong address remains part of an ongoing investigation.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebe said at a press conference Friday that the department is releasing the video out of a desire to be forthcoming and transparent about what he called a dark day for the police force and the homeowner’s family. Robert Dotson, 52.
“It starts with us not starting well and making mistakes and going in the wrong direction,” Hebbe said. “But it ends, frankly, with something you don’t see very often, Mr. Dodson comes out with a gun and then points it at the officers.”
The department said the video was reviewed by the Dotson family and their attorney before it was released publicly.
“All of us – the men and women of the Farmington Police Department – recognize the gravity of this incident. We will do everything we can to more fully understand what happened here,” Hebbe said.
“Again, we want to express our condolences to the Dotson family and, as your Chief of Police, I want to let you know how sorry I am that this tragedy has occurred. We will continue to provide as many updates as possible.”
Three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation. The officials have not been identified.
The case comes amid an ongoing reckoning across the country over the use of force by law enforcement officers.
The State Police Bureau of Investigation continues to review the case, saying the findings will be shared with the district attorney for further review.