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Video Shows N. Mexico Police Were at Wrong House Seconds Before Killing Homeowner

(Reuters) – New Mexico police officers realized they were at the wrong address just moments before the front door opened and they fatally shot the armed homeowner, then exchanged gunfire with his wife, according to newly released body camera video of the April 5 shooting.

Robert Dotson, 52, was killed by police in Farmington, New Mexico, on April 5, after officers responding to a domestic violence report arrived at the wrong house.

The Farmington Police Department released several videos on Friday, including footage captured by body cameras worn by the three officers who fired their weapons.

“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,” Police Chief Steven Hebbe said in a statement accompanying the release.

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An attorney representing the Dotson family could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

The video shows one officer knocking on a door decorated with an Easter bunny three times and announcing that police are present in the span of about 1-1/2 minutes. While they wait, two officers discuss whether they have the correct address and chuckle when they realize a mistake has been made.

One officer then curses and backs away, seconds before the door opens. An officer yells, “Hands up!,” and the video shows Dotson raising what appears to be a handgun before officers open fire, dropping him in the doorway.

Dotson’s wife can soon be heard screaming “Oh my God!” One officer mutters, “Please don’t,” before another volley of shots take place. Authorities have said she fired in the direction of officers, who returned fire without striking her.

Dotson’s wife, who did not realize she was firing at police, has not been charged with a crime, authorities said. Three children were upstairs at the time of the shooting, according to the released video.

Police have not released the names of the involved officers, who have been placed on paid leave while the state police investigate the incident.

The Dotson family and their attorney watched the video prior to its public release, Hebbe said.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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