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Police Trainer: Perez’ Shots Weren’t Sympathetic Fire

Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal

A longtime Los Angeles police officer and trainer took the stand on Friday, Sept. 30, to testify that the Albuquerque police who were near James Boyd before he was killed were acting professionally.

Keith Sandy fired his rifle first, hitting Boyd in the arms. Dominique Perez fired shortly after, shooting Boyd in the back. Expert witness Ronald McCarthy said the shots Perez fired were not what’s called “sympathetic fire,” basically where one officer instinctively shoots simply because another officer has. 

"I don’t see sympathetic fire here," McCarthy said. "If there was sympathetic fire, an 'oh gosh' moment, that would be one round. There wasn’t. Both officers fired three rounds."

Both Perez and Sandy are facing second-degree murder charges. The defense strategy rests on the idea that both officers decided independently and at the same moment to fire at Boyd because they thought he was threatening a K-9 officer. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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