Police in New Mexico fatally shot a man Wednesday night after responding to the wrong house during a domestic violence call, authorities said, in what the police chief described as a "chaotic scene."
The shooting took place shortly before midnight on Wednesday as officers from the local Farmington Police department responded to the call, according to a statement released by the state's Department of Public Safety. The statement said the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau had been asked to investigate the incident.
"Once on scene, officers mistakenly approached" the wrong address and knocked on the door. The statement from the state public safety authority said the officers identified themselves as police, but no one answered.
The statement said officer body camera video shows that as the officers backed away from house, the homeowner opened the screen door armed with a handgun. One or multiple officers fired at least one round, striking the homeowner, who police identified as 52-year-old Robert Dotson.
After Dotson was shot, his wife emerged in the doorway and opened fire with a handgun, the public safety agency said, prompting return fire from the officers.
"Once she realized that the individuals outside the residence were officers, she put the gun down and complied with the officer's commands," according to the statement.
Dotson was pronounced dead at the scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator. His wife, who was uninjured, has not been charged with a crime.
In a video statement, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe acknowledged the mistake and said he was "heartbroken by the circumstances." He said after the officers release statements, body camera video will be released within a few days, showing a "chaotic scene."
Hebbe said it was a "very dark day" for the Dotson family, the community and the police department.
"I extend nothing but my deepest condolences to the Dotson family," he said. "There's nothing I can say that will make this better. It's a terrible event, and I'm heartbroken by it."
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