‘He Came Out That Day to Kill’: New Mexico Cop Shot Black Nurse Accused of Stealing Beer at Point Blank Range, Charged with Manslaughter for ‘Unjustifiable’ Use of Deadly Force

A New Mexico police officer was charged with voluntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement in connection to the deadly shooting of a Black man last year, according to a news release.

Attorney General Raúl Torrez made the announcement on Oct 3. Brad Lunsford of the Las Cruces Police Department was hit with the charges. 

Black Man Shot By Officer In New Mexico. Cop Now faces Charges.
Attorney General Raúl Torrez (left) has announced that Las Cruces Police Officer Brad Lunsford is charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of Presley Eze (right). (Photo: NBC News/ Youtube screenshot)

It stems from an August 2022 incident when Lunsford responded to a 911 call about a man, identified as Presley Eze, accused of stealing a beer from a local gas station, per the news release detailing the incident.

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When Lunsford arrived at the scene, he approached shirtless Eze — who was unarmed— and confronted him. The officers were not able to verify his identity at the time. The statement alleged Lunsford and his colleague are said to have “forcibly removed” Eze from his car, resulting in a “scuffle” as he resisted arrest.

“Eze ended up on the ground, on top of one of the responding officers. During the ongoing struggle, Eze placed his hand on the second officer’s Taser though it was not cycled or deployed against either officer,” the news release claimed, adding that Lunsford then “drew his service weapon and shot Eze on the back, left side of his head at point-blank range.”

Local news reported that Lunsford surrendered, was taken into custody, and was released. He is also currently on paid leave. The other responding officer wasn’t criminally charged. 

Harrowing body camera footage and bystander video obtained by NBC News appears to show the officer placing the gun in the back of Eze’s head. Attorney General Torrez called the incident a tragedy and “yet another example of poor police tactics resulting in an unjustifiable use of force.”

Watch video leading up to the deadly shooting here.

“You shoot somebody in the head, you want you dead. So, he came out that day to kill my son,” Eze’s father, Isaac, said at a press conference, KOAT-TV reported. His family filed a lawsuit against the city of Las Cruces in May, alleging the city tried to cover up the shooting and withheld public information. 

Civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy previously told KRQE about how Eze’s death has impacted the family, especially his child.

“He was a father to a 2-year-old boy who will now have to grow up without one. His wife is shattered; his family is shattered,” Kennedy said to the outlet. “He is from a large family back east [and] came to New Mexico to serve this community as a nurse.”  

The local NAACP chapter president, Bobbie Greene, championed Torrez’s decision to hold the officer accountable.

The New Mexico shooting of Eze is reminiscent of the April 2022 execution-style shooting of Patrick Lyoya by former Grand Rapids police officer Christopher Schurr. Schurr was charged with second-degree murder, but his attorneys have filed an appeal with Michigan’s appellate court, arguing that the lower courts were mistaken in sending the case to trial.

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