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Grand jury finds that non-fatal shooting of man by Santa Fe police officers wasn't justified


SANTA FE, New Mexico — A grand jury concluded Thursday that Santa Fe police officers weren't justified in shooting an unarmed 25-year-old man in the face.

At a news conference Friday, First Judicial District Attorney Angela "Spence" Pacheco announced the grand jury's decision and said the shooting will be presented to a special prosecutor to see "if there should be any charges or what else should be done with the case."

Neither of the two officers has been charged.

Pacheco said she met with the officers last night and "they were disappointed" by the decision.

According to authorities, Roberto Mendez was shot in the cheek at a convenience store in 2013 when Santa Fe Police Department officers John DeBaca and Stephen Fonte fired on the SUV that Mendez was driving. Reports said the SUV was backing up and the officers jumped out of the way.

Grand jurors reviewed New Mexico State Police reports on the incident, photographs and video from dashboard cameras, Pacheco said.

The jury heard from the officers, two female passengers in the vehicle, a neutral witness who was getting gas and Mendez. They also reviewed police video of the shooting.

In explaining "unjustified," Pacheco said the grand jury "did not feel the officers should have shot."

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