NATIONAL NEWS

New Mexico officer fatally stabbed before a witness shoots and kills suspect, police say

Feb 12, 2024, 12:06 AM | Updated: 12:38 pm

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico police officer was fatally stabbed over the weekend while responding to a trespassing report and a witness to the attack apparently shot and killed the suspect before calling on the officer’s radio for help, authorities said Monday.

The fatal stabbing and shooting took place late Sunday in Las Cruces, about 225 miles (360 kilometers) south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and some 45 miles (75 kilometers) northwest of El Paso, Texas.

Las Cruces police said Patrol Officer Jonah Hernandez, 35, was stabbed at least once Sunday afternoon and died at a hospital where he was taken.

The suspect in the stabbing, a 29-year-old man, was believed to have been shot and killed by the same witness, according to police. They said the witness used the officer’s police radio to call for help afterward.

The name of the suspect was being withheld until his relatives could be notified, police said. The identity of the witness also wasn’t immediately released.

It was unclear whether the attack occurred at a home or business and whether the witness lived at the address or was a passer-by. But police said more information would be released at a news conference Tuesday.

Hernandez was a former resident of El Paso, Texas, who had served with the Las Cruces police for two years. The department said Hernandez is survived by his widow and two sons, ages 2 and 10.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement Monday that she was “horrified to hear of the murder of a young officer in Las Cruces” and “this loss is felt acutely by every first responder and their families.”

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