A Las Cruces police officer was recently hit with a lawsuit after he discharged his weapon at Picacho Middle School in December 2019.
The Las Cruces Police Department and one of its officers was recently hit with a civil suit over a 2019 shooting incident at Picacho Middle School. According to the complaint, Officer Francisco Estrada “accidentally discharged his duty-issued handgun when he was in his office, which is directly next door to the school’s administration office.” Estrada was working as a school resource officer at the time and had been employed with LCPD for eight years.
The suit was filed on behalf of a student who happened to be in the school’s administration office at the time of the incident. His siblings and his mother are also listed on the complaint. What happened, though? Why did Estrada discharge his weapon? Why was the student in the office to begin with? According to the suit, “Estrada intentionally fired his duty-issued handgun at a target on the wall in his office.” The suit claims Estrada had just finished “interrogating and lecturing the student in the administration office about the use of snap-its, a novelty firecracker that makes a popping sound when thrown at the ground, at the school.”
The suit also alleges the student was sitting against the wall that Estrada’s office “shared with the administration office and near the target he had placed on the wall.” After interrogating the student, Estrada “the administration office, put a loaded magazine into his duty firearm and fired the gun at a target on the wall.” According to the student, the “bullet allegedly passed inches from their head.” The student said he “heard a pop in his ear followed by a ringing sensation,” and claims his hearing in that ear is now damaged.
The school immediately notified the student’s mother that there was a shooting incident involving her child, “and that her child was alive.” She rushed to the school immediately. When the student’s brother learned of the incident, he allegedly “went into a panic at the school.”
There is also surveillance video evidence of the incident. The footage from Las Cruces Public Schools “shows the moment Estrada fired his gun inside of Picacho Middle School.” Following the incident, Estrada was placed on administrative duty.
As a result of the incident, the suit claims the student is traumatized and is struggling with high levels of anxiety. Additionally, his relationship with his siblings has become strained. According to his mother, the student’s anxiety levels are so bad that he “can no longer attend school and rarely leaves the family’s home.”