The man who fired multiple rounds at Las Cruces police officers on Monday during a SWAT callout has been identified as 81-year-old Michael Seltzer.
Sometime afternoon on Monday, June 8, Las Cruces police were dispatched to the report of an 81-year-old man with suicidal ideations at 926 N. Tornillo St. First-arriving officers learned from a neighbor that Seltzer might try using a handgun to engage the police.
Officers set up a perimeter and began trying to make contact with Seltzer. Shortly after officers arrived, Seltzer fired at least one round that struck a vehicle near where one LCPD officer was standing. That prompted LCPD to activate its SWAT team along with a tactical unit from New Mexico State Police, two K-9 units, LCPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team, and Crisis Intervention Unit.
Preliminary information from the investigation indicates that Seltzer, from inside his home, fired multiple rounds from his handgun at officers. One round fired toward officers struck the drivers-side window of LCPD’s Bearcat – a vehicle that affords ballistic protection for officers and citizens in high-risk situations – where an officer was seated. Other officers were in and near the Bearcat at the time. Fortunately, the officers escaped injury.
Over the course of approximately two hours, officers made multiple attempts at contacting Seltzer and gave several announcements for him to lay down his firearm and exit the residence. All attempts to establish a dialogue with Seltzer were unsuccessful.
About 3 p.m., Seltzer exited the front door of his apartment armed with a handgun in a threatening manner. LCPD officers discharged their duty weapons with at least one round striking Seltzer. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. The gun Seltzer used was identified as a .38 caliber revolver.
No officers were physically injured during the incident. The three LCPD officers who discharged their weapons were placed on standard administrative leave.
The Officer-involved Incident Task Force is investigating the shooting. The task force includes investigators from New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces Police Department, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State University Police. Once the investigation is complete, the task force will forward its findings to the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office for review.