Skip to comments.Parks officer shoots, kills man at Elephant Butte (NM State Park)
Posted on 08/26/2005 1:17:42 PM PDT by Rio
A state parks officer fatally shot a man Tuesday night at Elephant Butte Lake State Park during a confrontation over the man's refusal to pay camping fees.
It was the first fatal shooting by an officer at one of New Mexico's 32 state parks in at least 30 years -- since the creation of a formal parks law-enforcement program -- Parks Director Dave Simon said. The New Mexico State Police are investigating the shooting.
The slain man was described as an Anglo in his mid-50s whose truck and trailer had Montana license plates. Police would not release other information until his next of kin were notified.
The officer, Clyde Woods, a three-year veteran of the parks force, is on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation, Simon said.
A spokeswoman for the parks division, Erica Asmus-Otero, said the shooting was, "as far as we know, in self-defense."
"The officer was doing his job, what he was trained to do," she said.
State police Lt. Jimmy Glascock would not confirm that, saying the investigation continues. When completed, it will be forwarded to the 7th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Socorro for a decision on whether charges are warranted.
The confrontation began just after 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lion's Beach, a busy area near the lake's visitors center, after the man became belligerent with a parks volunteer over a $14 camping fee he refused to pay, Asmus-Otero said.
The volunteer called for an officer, and the man was also belligerent after Woods arrived.
Woods attempted to apprehend the man for trespassing, Asmus-Otero said. The man placed his hands in his pockets and refused to remove them despite Woods' requests. At that point, she said, the man "acted in a manner that our officer is trained to respond to," but would not provide more details, other than to say he was "aggressive" and "verbally abusive."
Glascock said police did not find "a firearm or knife" on or near the man's body after he was shot.
State Parks officers are fully certified law enforcement officers who attend the state police academy for training. Simon said officers are trained to focus on education and interaction with the public, rather than confrontation.
He said the "vast majority" of parks users "comply willingly with parks fees," which generate almost two-thirds of the state parks division's budget.
"Deadly force is always a last resort," Simon said. "The choice to use it is based on the risk the officer sees of imminent injury or death to the officer or to the public. ... Failure to pay fees would not have been a reason for this officer to do what he did."
Sun-News photographer Norm Dettlaff contributed to this report.
I sure hope he was maced first.
No weapon found....ok I feel safe in posting the following.
Camping fees must be paid.
Failure to do so may result in untimely death.
"Man shot in Elephant Butte, Glascock confirmed."
Trained to kill a man over $14.00...?
NM is different, very different.
Of course, I really meant to say it must be a regional thing.
Isn't that the park that's about ten miles north of Buffalo Scrotum?
You're lucky it didn't happen in Reno.
He'd have shot him, just to watch him die.
This doesn't pass the sniff test.
LOL. You ain't right.
Don't go speaking for all of us, SuzyQue.
There's not one drop of limey blood in my family tree. Being referred to as an anglo is just as distasteful as being called a yankee!
I'd prefer Caucasian, or even gringo to either of the above..
Thought so! Good one!
the "vast majority" of parks users "comply willingly with parks fees,"
I bet that slim minority gets even slimmer with that kind of enforcement.
The story says the officer tried to take the person into custody for traspass - read the story a little slower before filing in the Ruby Ridge folder.
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