Farmington, New Mexico, police officers discussed whether they were at the right house moments before the door opened and they fatally shot an armed homeowner, body camera video released Friday appears to show.
The officers were at the wrong address in the April 5 incident that left the homeowner, 52-year-old Robert Dotson, dead, Police Chief Steve Hebbe has said.
Farmington police on Friday released six videos from the encounter — one from each of the three officers who responded as well as slow-motion videos from each — and one video on Facebook with parts of the three. Each video from the officers is around 20 minutes long.
“Once again, we wish to express our condolences to the Dotson family and as your chief of police, I wish to convey how very sorry I am that this tragedy occurred,” Hebbe said in a statement Friday night.
New Mexico State Police are investigating the shooting.
New Mexico police fatally shoot man after approaching wrong homeApril 15, 202302:11
That agency and Farmington police said officers were to respond to a domestic violence related call at one house around 11:30 p.m. But the officers mistakenly went to another house, which appears to be across the street, officials said.
The video released Friday shows an officer knocking on the door at the wrong address three times and announcing they are police.
The officer knocking on the door and another officer not shown are heard discussing the address in one of the videos, titled "officer 1."
“It’s not 5308? That’s what it said right there, right?” the officer who is knocking is heard saying in the video.
“No, it said 5305, isn’t it?” the other officer is heard saying. The officer knocking asks in his radio to confirm the address, and is told 5308.
The knocking officer appears to laugh after being told the correct address, and then says an expletive as the door starts to open. The video shows the officer backing up and shining a flashlight at the now opening door.
"Hey, hands up!" the officer says before police open fire at the person in the doorway, later identified as Dotson. A portion of the video slowed down by police appears to show what looks like the homeowner raising a gun.
In one of the videos released Friday, titled "officer 2," the slain man's wife can be heard screaming "Oh my God," before shots ring out. State police have said that she shot at officers, who also fired, before she realized they were police. No one was hit.
The officer in that video is heard saying that she picked up the gun that Dotson had and pointed it at them.
The video records her pleading for help, saying "somebody shot my husband" and her children are upstairs. Someone on police radio says there are three children in the home upstairs. The video shows Dotson on the ground in a robe inside the home, and a handgun on the floor next to him.
All three officers who were there fired their weapons during the incident, police said. The number of shots they fired is under investigation, the department said.
Dotson's family, along with their attorney, watched the videos at the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office before it was released publicly Friday, police said.
Hebbe said the videos were released partly in the interest of being transparent about what occurred. Why the officers went to the wrong address is under investigation, police said.
The three officers are on paid administrative leave. Their names are redacted in the videos. Two of them have been on the police force for five years and the third has been with the department for three years, police said.
Attempts to contact members of the Dotson family by phone have not been successful.
State police said that its findings in the shooting investigation will be shared with the district attorney's office, and the DA's office will determine if the shooting was justified.
Farmington is a city of around 46,000 in the northwestern part of the state.