Police Officer Nigel Benner was shot and killed while making a traffic stop near the intersection of Pinetree and Southern Roads at approximately 8:15 pm.
Officer Benner was about to go off-duty when he spotted a vehicle driving in an erratic manner. Inside that vehicle was a female driver and her boyfriend. The two were driving around Rio Rancho looking for a home to burglarize. When Officer Benner activated his light, the vehicle stopped. Officer Benner approached and began to speak with the female driver and he obtained identification from her. The passenger however, provided false identification information to the officer. After conducting a computer check, Officer Benner returned to the suspect’s vehicle to question them further, but the suspects fled in the vehicle.
Officer Benner pursued the vehicle for a short distance before the passenger shot his girlfriend in the foot, and pushed her from the vehicle. Officer Benner stopped to check on her well being, and then continued to pursue the suspect. A short distance away, the suspect shot Officer Benner several times. Wounded, Officer Benner walked back toward the female and asked “What was his name?”, before collapsing.
Officer Benner was transported to UNM Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
The female suspect was arrested at the scene. The male suspect was arrested later that evening after robbing a gas station at gunpoint. On September 23rd, 2016, the male subject was convicted of murder and multiple other felonies related to the incident. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The female subject had previously accepted a plea deal to lesser charges.
Officer Benner was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Rio Rancho Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife, two children, and three stepchildren.