A New Mexico sheriff’s deputy shot and killed his partner as he fled a hotel room the two shared following a night of drinking after transporting a prisoner to Arizona, cops said Tuesday.
Sheriff’s Deputy Tai Chan is accused of shooting dead fellow Deputy Jeremy Martin inside a hotel in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The two had just finished their job in bringing a prisoner from Santa Fe County, where the two are based, to Safford, Arizona.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Martin Was Shot in the Back as He Tried to Escape to a Hotel Elevator
According to KOAT, the two were staying at the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on the night of October 27. The officers had just extradited a prisoner from Santa Fe County to Safford, Arizona. KOB reports that before turning in for the night, the two deputies stopped at the Dublin Street Pub in Las Cruces. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the two men began arguing in the bar.
Gunshots were heard very early on the morning of October 28 with police being called. Soon after their arrival, responding officers found Deputy Jeremy Martin bleeding profusely in a hotel stairwell. He had been shot in the back. The injured deputy was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later died. Tai Chan, 27, was also found inside the hotel. He was taken in for questioning but has not been charged.
2. Jeremy Martin Had 3 Kids
According to his Facebook page, Jeremy Martin is married with three kids. His wife, Sarah, posted on her Facebook, the day before Jeremy Martin was killed, that the family had been involved in a Christmas charity event.
Martin was clearly proud of his job in the sheriff’s department. He regularly posted MEMEs that celebrated sheriff’s across the U.S.
3. They Hadn’t Worked Together Much
Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia told the media in a press conference that the two deputies hadn’t worked together much. In an emotional briefing, Garcia said:
In my 34-year career, I would never think and hope I would receive that kind of phone call. I never thought it would be two from within my own agency. We would never expect anything like this to happen. It’s a major shock.
Garcia added that his department is relatively small and is made up of 120 employees.
4. Martin & Chan Were Friends on Facebook
Despite Sheriff Garcia saying that the two deputies hadn’t worked together much, they are friends on Facebook. On Chan’s page, he writes that he studied at New Mexico State University, it doesn’t say if he graduated. He’s also a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
According to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s website, Chan works in the department’s warrants division. Jeremy Martin doesn’t appear to be listed on the same page.
5. Tai Chan Received a Commendation on October 1 for Doing His Job in a ‘Professional, Courteous & Admirable Manner’
The Santa Fe Hometown News reported on October 1, 2014, that Chan had been commended by Sheriff Robert Garcia for performing his job in a “professional, courteous and admirable manner.” The commendation was specifically related to arrests that Chan participated in that were related to a string of robberies in the area-of Eldorado, New Mexico.