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Three Days

Santa Fe Sheriff’s deputy who killed man in Tesuque earlier this month is back at work

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Ficke is back on patrol duty after fatally shooting a man in Tesuque on July 7. Ficke returned to work on July 10 following three days on administrative leave.

SFR identified Ficke on July 15 as the deputy who shot and killed 45-year-old Edward Daniel Santana while investigating a stabbing. After refusing to respond to questions from SFR for almost two weeks, the sheriff’s office confirmed today in an email that Ficke was indeed the shooter.

Responding to a question from SFR, the sheriff’s office also identified Deputy Blaine Lattin and Deputy Ian Burr as the deputies who fired Tasers at Santana moments before Ficke shot him.

Asked if the sheriff’s office was aware of Ficke’s history both in uniform and out—including his 2013 arrest on suspicion of committing domestic violence against his then-wife and subsequent resignation from the Albuquerque Police Department—when he was hired last fall, a spokesman said Ficke’s “background” was considered.

“The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office reviews all career history when considering an individual as a lateral hire,” spokesman Juan Rios wrote in an email. “Taking into account an individual’s career history is a factor of the sheriff’s office hiring process. Deputy Ficke’s background was taken into consideration.”

It’s unclear if APD sent a referral to the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board—which controls all law enforcement certifications in the state—for review after Ficke’s arrest in 2013.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said it’s not aware of any action taken against Ficke’s certification.

SFR also asked if Ficke has provided a statement to Internal Affairs investigators, and where the IA investigation stands, to which the sheriff’s office said the agency “does not comment on internal investigations.”

State Police also released a new statement about the shooting late Tuesday, identifying Ficke, and laying out their version of events:

“The State Police officer and deputies observed Santana standing on the patio covered in blood, stabbing himself in [the] neck with glass from a broken bottle. Santana walked in and out of the residence before he began to walk down the driveway aggressively towards the officers. Officers attempted to talk to Santana from a safe distance. Santana picked up a wooden fence post off the ground, walked towards the officers while yelling, ‘just kill me’ and other vulgar obscenities. Officers gave numerous verbal commands to Santana to drop the fence post, which he ignored. Santana continued to walk aggressively towards the officers while bleeding profusely from his neck and continuing to hold the fence post. Santana made gestures with the fence post towards the officer to strike them. Santana raised the wooden fence post over his head in a striking motion and lunged towards a SFCSO deputy. A SFCSO deputy deployed his department issued taser, but it was ineffective. Santana continued towards the deputies with the fence post and at that time, SFCSO Deputy Patrick Ficke discharged his department issued firearm towards Santana at least once, striking him.”

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