On Tuesday June 8, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was contacted to investigate a police shooting involving the Espanola Police Department (EPD).
At approximately 9:30 p.m., EPD responded to a welfare check on a vehicle in the parking lot of the Ranchitos Park in Espanola, NM. Upon arrival, two EPD officers made contact with the vehicle. During the approach, the officers observed a male sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. He was later identified as Luis Nathan Leyba (38) of Espanola, NM. One of the officers met with the female passenger, who was standing next to an open passenger side door on the outside of the vehicle. The female got back into the vehicle and sat down on the passenger seat after ignoring the officer’s commands. During that time, Lebya drove the vehicle in reverse and started to drag an EPD officer. The EPD officer being dragged gave numerous verbal commands for Leyba to stop. Leyba ignored the officer’s commands and continued to drive the vehicle in reverse. The vehicle continued to drag the EPD officer. At that time, both EPD officers drew their department issued firearms and discharged it at least once towards Leyba, striking him.
Once the vehicle came to a stop, EPD officers immediately rendered aid to Leyba and called for an ambulance. Leyba was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The female passenger in the vehicle sustained minor injuries. She was also transported by ambulance to an area hospital where she was treated and later released.
The identification of the officers involved will not be released until interviews are completed. No officers were injured during the incident. For information on the initial call and administrative actions of the officers, please contact the Espanola Police Department. This investigation remains active and is being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. Upon completion of the investigation, this case will be given to the district attorney’s office for review.