Nelson Rodarte, 39, allegedly trained a rifle on New Mexico State Police officers and Taos County Sheriff’s deputies from the rooftop of a doublewide trailer in Peñasco. A state police sergeant and deputies called out Rodarte’s position. Deputy Shana McTague fired first, followed by officer Anthony Perez, who fired two more rounds from around 100 yards away, the length of a football field. Rodarte went down with the second shot, and according to an updated state police press release, never fired his weapon at all.
This is the sequence of events state police revealed Tuesday evening (Dec. 5) regarding a fatal officer-involved shooting that took place the morning of Nov. 25 in a small mountain town 30 minutes southwest of Taos.
Both officers – McTague and Perez – were placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting. Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that McTague was “reinstated to regular duty” on Wednesday (Nov. 29), four days following the event.
Hogrefe and State Police Chief Pete Kassetas both have said that the officers and deputies found themselves in a dangerous scenario, citing the allegations that Rodarte was armed and in an elevated position. Kassetas said the alleged gunman’s position put law enforcement at a disadvantage.
But also according to reports, there were two deputies and two officers on the scene, who were “attempting to take cover” as the incident escalated.
Not all of them made the same decision to fire their weapons, according to state police.
The trouble in Peñasco began on Friday evening, when Rodarte, who was allegedly “intoxicated,” started to “harass” his girlfriend at a residence in the area. The argument escalated to Rodarte allegedly battering the woman and pointing a rifle at her, causing her to seek safety at a relative’s house in the area.
The incident resumed around 6 a.m. Saturday morning, when Rodarte allegedly went to the other residence.
Law enforcement responded to a report of the domestic disturbance around 8 a.m. and attempted to confront Rodarte, who allegedly refused to cooperate, armed himself with the rifle, as well as a revolver, and made his way to the roof of the trailer, where he was fatally shot.
Police have opened an investigation into the event, and further details remain under investigation pending further updates.