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Names of officer, deputies in fatal shooting released

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Roswell police and the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office have disclosed the names of three law enforcement officers involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of a man.

Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the Roswell Police Department, said Officer Leroy Smith — who has been with the RPD for five years — and two deputies fatally shot 64-year-old Craig Heinzen on July 16.

Questions about the names of the deputies involved in the shooting were referred to the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Mike Herrington said the deputies are Isaac Nava and Ben Conklin. He added that Nava and Conklin have each been with the Sheriff’s Office for about a year and a half.

Wildermuth said the RPD, Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police are continuing to investigate the shooting. When the investigation is complete, a report will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether the actions of the officers and deputies were justified.

No additional information about the incident or the investigation was released Friday.

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However, a press release issued July 17 stated the shooting happened when RPD officers and Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call in the 2300 block of Mills Drive about a man threatening to shoot other residents at the location.

When officers saw Heinzen outside the back of the residence, he was reportedly armed with one or more firearms and allegedly failed to comply with orders given by the officer and deputies, who then fired numerous shots. Heinzen subsequently died from his injuries.

Smith, as of Friday, was still on paid administrative leave, Wildermuth said. Herrington said Friday the two deputies were back at work following three days paid administrative leave, which is protocol for the Sheriff’s Office for officer-involved shootings.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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