The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis police officer shoots suspect fleeing from stolen vehicle


October 10, 2018

David Grieder

Clovis police said Monday that one of their officers was "involved in a deadly force incident" on the 600 block of South Prince Street.

CLOVIS — Clayton Chavez doesn't know everything that happened early Monday in Clovis, but he doesn't think his son deserved to die over a car.

"I just always told myself, 'He's doing wild stuff and I can't get through to him and one of these times I'm going to get that phone call.' And this (Monday) morning was that phone call," he told The News.

"It's just been a very bad day. I love my son, what am I supposed to do? I don't believe a person should lose his damn life because of a damn car."

The details released so far are spare: Shortly after midnight on Columbus Day, a Clovis Police Department officer used deadly force while pursuing Aaron Joseph Chavez, 22, shooting him dead just south of the Prince Street overpass.

"Around 12:30 a.m., a CPD officer attempted to stop a stolen vehicle," said the news release Monday night from New Mexico State Police. "(Chavez) fled from the vehicle and a foot pursuit ensued. During the foot pursuit the officer discharged his duty weapon. Chavez was fatally struck with gunfire and succumbed to his injuries."

For much of that day ensuing investigators were on scene on the 600 block of South Prince Street, a blue Eclipse straddling the shoulder and curb of the northbound lane. Officials did not release nor answer questions as to how many shots were fired, the identity of the officer or why the officer used deadly force while pursuing a fleeing suspect on foot.

"This investigation remains active and open. The details of the shooting remain under investigation," said the release. "The name of the officer involved will not be released until all interviews are completed."

Chavez said his son had been in Clovis the past three years; he was born in Dumas, Texas, and moved with his mother to Wyoming, where he spent much of his childhood and teenage years, living partly with family and partly in foster homes.

Soon after moving to New Mexico, said his father, the younger Chavez fell in with a rough crowd, "started doing bad things, stealing from me, lying, in and out of jail."

"He suffered from ADHD, he had problems with attention and all that. He was rebellious," his father told The News. "When he was growing up, he liked sneakers, he liked tennis shoes, he liked music. ... As he got into his higher teen years, he became more and more of a problem."

But that doesn't mean his father is at peace with what happened. It wasn't until about 2 p.m. Monday that he received confirmation of what happened, the word delivered in person by an Amarillo police officer since Chavez couldn't get to Clovis that day. He hoped to speak with a detective in Clovis on Tuesday to hear more.

"When my son was off drugs, he was a really good kid, he was very helpful and respectful - once he got into the drugs, he got into the stealing to stay high," Chavez said. He said it didn't surprise him to hear his son may have stolen a car, but he wouldn't expect him to have been carrying weapons or otherwise posing a threat.

"There's a reason for this, I don't know what. There's plenty of other parents that have gotten that phone call," he said. "I'm his dad and if something was wrong here and they didn't follow procedures then I need to file a federal lawsuit, because I got a feeling something is wrong here."

CPD did not answer questions Tuesday as to the officer's identity or duty status following the incident.


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