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N.M. State Police Officer Fired for Shooting at Van Plans Appeal

December 09, 2013  | 

Officer Elias Montoya (foreground) prepares to fire upon the minivan as it drives away from officers. (Photo: Still from New Mexico State Police Video) 
Officer Elias Montoya (foreground) prepares to fire upon the minivan as it drives away from officers. (Photo: Still from New Mexico State Police Video) 

A New Mexico State Police officer who fired shots at a minivan  during a chaotic October traffic stop in Taos plans to appeal his firing, the Associated Press reports.

Attorneys for Elias Montoya announced Sunday that they are reviewing the allegations against the veteran officer and that Montoya intends to file an appeal for wrongful termination.

Montoya was fired from the State Police on Friday.

Albuquerque TV station KRQE reports that rallies have been held in Taos both for and against Montoya.

Organizers of Sunday’s support rally told KRQE they want to prove that the majority of Taos supports Montoya and his actions.

“We're behind our law enforcement officials and we don't like people driving through our town at 100 mph through school zones and then pretending to be a victim, I just think this is ridiculous,” said Marie Fleur, a co-organizer of the support rally.

Related Story:

Video: Officers Investigated Over Wild N.M. Traffic Stop

Tags: Vehicle Pursuits, Traffic Enforcement, New Mexico State Police, Officer Fired


Comments (11)

Displaying 1 - 11 of 11

Boston @ 12/9/2013 4:54 PM

Maria this is not a Hollywood film or the wild west yet. A veteran LEO not a rookie but a veteran open fires with other civilians in the area and children in the vehicle. What Academy teaches this? Did the veteran LEO feel that his life or another LEO's life was in danger? High speed chases are usually dealt with radios and spike strips in New England. I'm glad and I 'm sure the Town's legal department is that this LEO didn't pull a sub-gun from the patrol car. This is one time I'm not on the side of an LEO.

John @ 12/9/2013 4:55 PM

This idiot should have been charged. He got off lightly with just being fired. Why do we tolerate these head cases?

DaveS55 @ 12/9/2013 5:19 PM

Don't you just love a Monday morning QB? Let let the case run it's course - Boston it is the wild west for those working the streets at times. After getting nowhere with this and refusal a red flag and the fact I heard officer state he was giving her a break as she was driving on a “Expired Driver’s license (DL)” and he may have been checking the status of a possible Nonresident Violator Compact (NRVC) comprise the Non-resident Violator Compact (NRVC). However, complicating this option would be “(Expired Driver’s license (DL).” I do see this as a tactic to slow things down, de-escalate back and forth verbal exchange on required actions, hesitation by her before she can be on her way. Also, secure MIC. Radio dispatch or field Sgt for further guidance, officer instructed driver turn vehicle off before heading back to his marked patrol car (unit). She chose to flee at that time escalating concerns and actions. When she fled the lawful stop - changes.

I am going to wait here!

John @ 12/9/2013 5:30 PM

Nothing to do with QBing the incident. This nut job was not under immediate threat, did not have a target, and let loose a number of rounds.

Which academy in this whole country teaches that?? WTF. Why do we defend the obvious rotten apples? This behavior dishonors all of us.

Dave @ 12/9/2013 8:04 PM

I wonder if that was the education she was looking for.

DaveS55 @ 12/9/2013 8:38 PM

John- I did not say I agree with what happened or could it be better.But I want more than a media report to go judging this. He was fired and he is appealing his due process rights. How do we know the threat when this happened? The Son physically engaged the officer not once, and came out of vehicle and approached before also twice show of force Taser. She drove down SR-518 72 mile stretch from Las Vegas NM I-25 to Taos very two lane mountain road at 88-100 MPH in a 55mph. Fighting the officer in roadway twice much more deadly from a 4000 pound vehicle take them all out. I suspect that's why Officer did not use Taser but a show of force only to get this young man in place traffic lane. My biggest reason for following this is officer safety and policy “lessons- learned always is." Also and if founded was driving across country with an expired DL. The foundation for what followed this traffic stop was her actions. 8 Days before two NMSP Sgt leg, ofcr shot also in state. I'll wait!

John @ 12/10/2013 6:46 AM

DaveS55. I appreciate your your measured response. Lots of folks here just blindly support our colleagues irrespective what they do, and no matter how damning the evidence is against them. I agree that the process needs to play out here, but the continued militarization of our profession and the number of unsuitable people we have in it worries me. I have been in LE (and the military) for 30+ years. I hate to see incidents like this. This video should be used at every academy class showing how a routine stop can escalate and what officers should not do. Whatever the reason for the stop, and whatever happened up to that point... this idiot should not be trying to "shoot out the tires". He should not be in law enforcement. He shouldn't even be at the mall guarding the food court. We have way to many LEO's that believe this is Iraq. (And before I get hammered with all the hard heads out there, yes, I still work nights and coach young officers). And I have been shot, and survived.

txlawman @ 12/10/2013 8:33 AM

Texas State Law gives any officer the right to shoo and kill a fleeing felon. As a city cop we have city restraints that keep us form going by State Law but State Police don't have the same restraints. When we used to be able to chase, we would steer the felon onto the State Highway and the State Police would shoot them. In this case you have to wonder if the officer got tunnel vision and did not see the other children in the car or not. This is a fleeing felon though. When the large 14 year old came at the officer and struck him with the totality of the events, I may have shot him. He is a very lucky young man. I have no sympathy for the mother or the 14 year old. I'm glad that none of the children were hurt. I would not have shot at the van, but that's me. Every officer has to justify his own actions on the totality of the event and what he knows and perceives at the exact second. We all want to Monday Morning quarterback just as the public and command staff do. Stay Safe

John @ 12/10/2013 12:29 PM

@txlawman. You better head back to the Academy. You seemed to have missed the days when they taught law. There are specific constraints around shooting a fleeing felon; and more applicable to correctional officer situations than this particular case.

DaveS55 @ 12/10/2013 7:04 PM

John I am retired military 20 and started law enforcement training back in the 70's when officer safety was not yet in focus...I am still going to wait on the report from NMSP which will be delayed as a result of the appeal. If you watch on the full video things did go south quick and I can tell you the son was charge with battery on the officer which is a 4th degree felony...two charges against driver are felonies on misd. The media is a big problem in New Mexico I want the truth - and I have no problem holding folks accountable and have in the past that worked for me...I have a recommendation (Street Level by John Morrison -Six Shots For Sergeants) American Cop Magazine December 2013- and also I have been a subscriber to Police magazine since the 70's PPN days. I believe being a sponge soaking up the wisdom...I have to admit I have a very strong feeling for New Mexico Law Enforcement as I was trained by many in those 70's and I am still alive today as a result. Nobody is Perfect!

Serpico @ 12/10/2013 8:41 PM

The same Media that manipulated the Zimmerman case. Has done the same with this situation. Making the LEO, "guilty". Unlike the Federal LEO's in DC who shot, Miriam Carey. Couldn't find her way around the barricades. All of a sudden "the Peoples City" DC. Became a Federal stronghold. Where Citizens lives have no value. This is a Polar opposite situation. The Lady driving the Minivan, and her son were giving the LEO trouble and fighting with him. As an officer you have to make a judgment call. If there was pepper spray, it could have been an option. This was a clear case of being threatened. You can say the Officer did the wrong thing. But once your in the same situation. Where hoods attack you. What choice are you going to take? If the kids carry Guns next time, you won't be alive to blame the poor LEO who put up with that crap in NM!

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