A 25-year-old Bayfield man suspected of being involved in a shooting last month in Ignacio was killed early Tuesday in a standoff with Farmington police after he charged SWAT officers with a weapon, according to police.
Ignacio Police Department Sgt. Wes Crume said Andrew Rossi charged officers with some type of weapon, and police were forced to use deadly tactics. Rossi was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Crume said.
Crume did not have further information about the incident. He said the death of Rossi closes the investigation into the shooting in Ignacio, where a 47-year-old man was shot and injured. The man is expected to fully recover. Police have not released the name of the victim.
Calls to the Farmington Police Department and New Mexico State Police were not immediately returned Tuesday morning.
According to a news release issued early Tuesday by the Farmington Police Department, officers responded Monday night to Motel 6 on Bloomfield Boulevard in reference to Rossi, who had a felony warrant for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Around 8:45 p.m., the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office found Rossi’s vehicle and confirmed he was at the motel. Farmington Police Department’s SWAT and crisis negotiation teams also responded to the scene.
Rossi was inside a motel room with his mother, Farmington police said. The mother came out of the room around 10:20 p.m., and police began making announcements for Rossi to come out.
About 11 p.m., police tried to contact Rossi by phone, but he would not answer. Police continued to try to call Rossi until midnight, but no contact was ever made with the 25-year-old suspect.
A search warrant for the room was obtained just before 1 a.m., the news release said. SWAT team personnel entered the room, and officers were able to hear movement in the ceiling where Rossi was hiding, according to the release.
Officers told Rossi to come out of the ceiling, but he refused. Police began removing ceiling tiles, and Rossi fell down.
“Once on the ground, he immediately stood up and charged officers with a knife,” the release says. “An officer fired his duty weapon striking the suspect.”
Medical aid was given to Rossi, and he was taken to the hospital where he died of his injuries.
The Farmington Police Department said the New Mexico State Police is taking over investigation of the incident.
“While it’s unfortunate that the suspect chose not to end this peacefully, we are extremely relieved and grateful that none of our officers or any other civilians were harmed,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in a prepared statement.
Authorities had been searching for Rossi in relation to a shooting in Ignacio around 1:20 a.m. Feb. 25. Rossi was considered “armed and dangerous,” according to police.
“We don’t want anyone to approach him because we don’t know his state of mind,” Crume said at the time.