May 14th, 2024 – Quay County, New Mexico

Published May 14th, 2024

The Sheriff of Quay County, New Mexico, was shot in the line of duty Tuesday morning. At approximately 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, deputies with the Quay County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to multiple 911 calls of a man brandishing a firearm at his residence. Upon arrival, deputies learned that Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) who arrived on the scene prior to the deputies had taken a firearm from the 77-year-old resident of the home who was reported to be in an agitated state and pointed the firearm at a home health care worker. As deputies were investigating the incident and obtaining a statement from the home health care worker, the elderly resident managed to obtain another firearm from elsewhere in the residence and fired at the deputies, striking one in the chest. He then pointed the gun at the other deputies, at which time they returned fire, fatally wounding the resident.

During a telephone interview two days after the incident, Quay County Sheriff Dennis Garcia identified himself as both the responding deputy who had been shot, and who fired the shots that fatally wounded the deceased elderly resident who had fired at him. Sheriff Garcia said he was transported to a local hospital for treatment of ‘superficial” injuries but avoided significant injury because the bullet-resistant vest he was wearing stopped the round fired at him. The investigation into the incident is ongoing by the New Mexico State Police.