POSTED: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 3:47pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 8:42am
LAS CRUCES, NM - A 23-year old Las Cruces man is dead after police say he charged at two officers with a 4-foot long sword.
"If that's what they say I don't believe that. I do not believe that for one second," Rudy Vela said.
Vela said the man lived at the Mesilla Manor Apartments for about a year. That's where police shot and killed him after someone reported seeing him swinging his sword. Vela said the man wasn't known to be angry or violent by neighbors, and others agreed.
"He might have had a sword, but I don't believe he would be waiving it around like he was trying to hurt somebody," Victor Garcia said.
Neighbors told us they heard police scream at him to put the sword down, and they say before officers finished yelling they heard four shots. The two officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, standard procedure, but we're told only one officer shot his gun.
Neighbors don't know why the man was carrying his sword.
"Probably showing it off, maybe taking it to a friend. Nobody knows, nobody will ever know now," Vela said.
Police say the investigation will take days, or even weeks. They would not tell us if there were any people who saw the shooting.
In the meantime neighbors remain skeptical of the story given by police, and are left wondering why deadly force was used.
"They could have tazed him as a way of putting him down. I don't think that they had to kill him. I think they could have used other measures," vela said.