Espanola, NM — Police responded to reports of two strange men claiming to be an FBI Drug Task Force knocking on apartment doors.
When they arrived, they found one of the imposters dead.
The Espanola Police Department said that they got the call around 3:45, when a Natasha Decosta called to say that somebody was trying to break into her apartment.
She reported that two men dressed all in black were claiming to be with the FBI but didn’t look like they were really cops.
The police reports states, “Someone is trying to break into an apartment, she advised they are pounding on the door, kicking the door trying to get in,” dispatch logs state. “There are two guys who don’t live there, and they are saying they are from (FBI High Intensity Drug Task Force) Region Three. She doesn’t think they are cops.”
Decosta was right: the two men were not law enforcement at all were impersonating FBI agents to intimidate and possibly rob the tenants of the apartment complex.
One of the men, Darrel Padilla, 31, was carrying a black pellet gun, and had taped a laser pointer to the barrel of it.
Eventually, Padilla picked the wrong apartment and kicked in the door of an armed citizen.
One tenant, Alex Lucero, didn’t buy their act, and felt threatened by two strange men kicking in his door with guns drawn.
The police report tells us what happened:
“(Padilla) kicked the door open, that’s when the tenant saw the barrel of the gun come through the door. The tenant announced several times that he was armed, and that’s when the offender went into the living room, just stepping through the doorway and being that he was armed, the tenant protected himself with his own weapon.”
Lucero couldn’t tell in the early morning light that the weapon was only a pellet gun, but he could tell that the man carrying it was dangerous.
Why else would you kick in apartment doors at 3:45 in the morning and pretend to be the FBI while carrying a gun?
After shooting the invader, Lucero tried to help save his life by applying a makeshift tourniquet while he waited for police to arrive.
Padilla later died at the hospital, but not before admitting he had had an accomplice who ran off and left him. The real police are still looking for that man.
The officers do not expect homeowner Lucero to face any charges.
“You do have the right to protect yourself and your family, and being that this person was armed, (Lucero) pretty much took the appropriate actions from my understanding,” Officer Sgt. Jeremy Apodaca said. “He announced that he was armed, he announced not to come into his house and (Padilla) still came in with a weapon.
If this was a drunken prank, then it had a tragic ending. If it was a robbery, it was terribly executed and poorly thought out, as they pretty much always are.
Either way, if these two idiots hadn’t decided to risk their lives trying to intimidate armed citizens, they’d be safe at home with their families today.