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Officer Cleared in 2018 Shooting on Tiffany Drive 2019

The Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office provided official findings on October 11 that it would take no action against the officer involved in the 2018 shooting of the man who was armed with a knife and had a slip-knot ligature wrapped around his mother’s neck.

About 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, Las Cruces police were dispatched to the report of a domestic disturbance in progress at the home 47-year-old Gary Daniel McKinney shared with his mother at 2491 Tiffany Drive. McKinney’s teenage daughter reported the incident and told a call-taker at Central Dispatch that her father threatened to shoot her and her grandmother, McKinney’s mother. The girl indicated that she had never seen her dad with a gun, but he mentioned having one.

The first-arriving officers entered the home through a garage doorway and gave multiple announcements for the occupants to exit. McKinney failed to follow the commands. Officers had reason to believe that McKinney’s 63-year-old mother was in imminent danger, so they proceeded into the kitchen where they found McKinney armed with a knife and standing behind his mother in a threatening manner.

McKinney was given commands to step away from his mother, but he refused those orders. Officer Isaiah Baker, a 12-year veteran of LCPD, fired two rounds from his duty weapon and McKinney was struck. McKinney was pronounced dead that evening at a local hospital.

The investigation revealed that McKinney was armed with a kitchen knife wrapped in a glove and affixed to his right hand. His left hand was either gloved, or holding a glove, that had a ligature tied to the two middle fingers. The other end of the ligature had a slip-knot noose that was fastened around his mother’s neck. Video from the officer’s lapel camera indicates that McKinney’s mother was holding onto the ligature with one hand in an apparent attempt at preventing it from being tightened around her neck.

Audio from the officer’s lapel camera revealed that McKinney’s mother yelled for help as the officers entered the residence. McKinney’s mother was not physically injured in the incident.

As is standard protocol, Baker was placed on administrative leave after the shooting. He returned to duty within a month of the incident.

The multi-agency Officer-involved Incident Task Force investigated the shooting. The task force includes investigators from New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces Police, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State University Police. Upon completion of their investigation, their findings are forwarded to the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.