A Las Cruces Police officer was killed Sunday evening during an interaction with a man suspected of trespassing.
Police said that Jonah Hernandez, an LCPD officer for two years, was stabbed by a 29-year-old man near the 300 block of S. Valley Drive around 5 p.m.
The 29-year-old man, who has not been identified, was then shot dead by a witness who saw the altercation, according to a news release confirming the incident. The witness then used Hernandez’s radio to call for help.
“Las Cruces Police will have additional information and anticipates holding a news conference early this week. No other information will be available tonight,” the release said.
The release also said Hernandez was a husband and father to two children, ages 10 and 2. Per the city of Las Cruces’ website, Hernandez was one of 28 cadets who graduated from the LCPD academy in 2022.
“The investigation has temporarily closed a portion of Valley Drive just north of Amador Avenue. Motorists are asked to avoid that area until the on-site investigation is complete,” the release said.
Reactions from local leaders, other agencies
Las Cruces City Councilor Johana Bencomo, representing District 4 including the location of this event, wrote in a social media post: “I am holding Officer Hernandez’s family, his friends, and LCPD siblings in my thoughts and prayers. My heart is absolutely broken for this tragic loss. My heart goes out to the witness and the family of the suspect.”
District 1 councilor Cassie McClure described the event as “an absolute tragic and heartbreaking loss to our community. I mourn with those who mourn. Please keep his family in your hearts tonight and in the long nights to come.”
“Incredibly sad news for our community,” Doña Ana County Clerk Amanda López Askin wrote. “My condolences to the Officer’s family, Chief (Jeremy) Story and LCPD. We mourn with you.”
Other police agencies, such as the Mesilla Marshals Office as well as the Santa Fe Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) or Facebook to share condolences, the latter writing: “Officer Hernandez’s end of watch came too soon, and we stand in solemn solidarity with the Las Cruces Police Department during this time of loss. Our hearts are with his wife, his young sons, and all who knew and served alongside him. May his courage and dedication be forever remembered.”