Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



September 1, 2017

Jacque Ritchie

Undersheriff Shane Ferrari and Sheriff Ken Christesen speak during the press conference after an officer was injured by gunfire. The suspect is shown in the background

On Sunday, August 27, a traffic stop on Main and Iles in Farmington resulted in a gunfight between a suspect, a San Juan County Sheriff's deputy and a New Mexico State Police officer. The NM State Trooper was shot in the upper-left chest area. The bullet struck him directly in the badge. Reportedly, the officer, a one-and-a-half year member of the force, was wearing a bullet proof vest. The officer was taken to the San Juan Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released. Suspect William Wilson, age 26, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a press conference hosted by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas declined to release the names of the officers involved.

According to Kassetas, the incident began at approximately 9:19 AM, when a SJCSO Deputy pulled over a white 1994 Ford pick-up truck reportedly because the license plate linked the vehicle to a recent rash of burglaries in the area. Three people were in the truck. Local law-enforcement were reportedly interested in questioning the occupants. NMSP overheard the transmission of the stop and responded to a request for back-up.

The driver, 42-year-old Terry Joplin was in the process of being arrested and handcuffed by SJCSO. According to a recent press release, Joplin had two outstanding warrants for failure to appear and non-payment of fines. While he was being arrested, a NMSP officer "made contact with one of the passengers, a Mr. William Wilson, a 26 year-old-male from the Farmington area." Kassetas said, "My officer and Mr. Wilson had a discussion, the officer decided to handcuff this individual. When that did occur, he was cuffed in front, and ultimately ... the suspect produced a weapon, a revolver (a.357 magnum was reportedly recovered at the scene), and fired at my officer. That round went into the badge and the vest. There was a vest behind that badge luckily." Kassetas said the shot resulted in "shrapnel in the side of his face."

Kassetas said, "My officer did manage to pull his service weapon, his sidearm and fired, I don't know how many rounds, at that individual." According to Kassetas A SJCSO deputy also fired an unknown number of rounds at Wilson who attempted to flee and ultimately ended up on the ground deceased behind a NMSP vehicle.​

William "Scrappy" Wilson had six felony convictions and was released in May from prison in Texas and sent to San Juan County pending trial on other charges. On August 2, Wilson was released from San Juan County Detention Center with a GPS monitoring device to the custody of his mother on a $25,000 unsecured appearance bond. Wilson faced 16 felony charges including aggravated burglary and larceny. During that hearing the district attorney's office requested Wilson be held in custody.

Passenger Kaytlynn Arnold, age 21, was arrested at the scene on a warrant for contempt of court.

At the press conference, San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen expressed relief that the officers involved were both physically fine. "Thank goodness they are safe," he said. Christensen blamed the days events on a supreme court ruling that allows lower courts to "assess and release" or what Christesen refers to as, "catch and release." According to Christesen, this practice, "Puts dangerous and violent criminals back on the street...as citizens of this state and the city of Farmington they should be outraged about this. It infuriates every law-enforcement officer that has to deal with these same people over and over again." He also added "Our judges, our law-makers, all law-enforcement, and every citizen needs to stand up and stop this nonsense!"

The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau is conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident. The names of the officer and deputy involved will be released when all interviews are completed.


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