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Defense attorney in fatal shooting says Farmington officers fired in self-defense

Robert Dotson’s home at 5305 Valley View Ave. Police mistakenly went to Dotson’s home instead of the dispatched address across the street, and in an encounter about midnight April 5, fatally shot him. Debra Mayeux/The Journal
‘Dotson ignored their commands and pointed his gun directly at officer,’ lawyer says

Shanice Gonzales, spokeswoman for the Farmington Police Department, on Friday evening released a statement from defense attorney Luis Robles that states three police officers fired at resident Robert Dotson in self-defense.

Robert Dotson, 52, died in the shooting about midnight April 5.

Robles identified the three officers as Waylon Wasson, Daniel Estrada and Dylan Goodluck. It was the first time that Estrada has been named in the shooting.

The police officers had mistakenly gone to Dotson’s home shortly before midnight in response to a domestic violence call at 5308 Valley View Ave.

Dotson was shot as he answered the door of his home at 5305 Valley View Ave., across the street.

He reportedly was armed with a handgun, but it was not known whether he knew that officers were at the door.

New Mexico State Police is investigating the case.

Stating in the news release that the case was tragic for the Dotson family and for the officers, Robles added that the officers never wanted to shoot Robert Dotson, but were in fact defending themselves.

“Sadly, Mr. Dotson created the set of circumstances that gave the officers no real choice but to use deadly force,” Robles said.

He said that he was attempting to set the record straight after the Dotsons’ lawyer, Shon Northam, said in a news conference that Dotson was never told the officers were there. “He didn’t know it was law enforcement,” Northam said Thursday.

Robles practices law with the firm Robles, Rael and Anaya of Albuquerque.

Describing the circumstances of the shooting, Robles said:

“On April 5th, Officers Waylon Wasson, Daniel Estrada, and Dylan Goodluck were dispatched to 5308 Valley View Avenue in reference to a domestic violence call. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Officers Wasson, Estrada, and Goodluck walked up to a house in a quiet residential area that they believed to be 5308 Valley View Avenue. However, the house that the officers approached was actually 5305 Valley View Avenue.

“The officers proceeded to the front porch. Three times, they knocked on the door. Three times, they announced that they were police. There was a window in the front door, as well as a window next to the front door and a doorbell camera. The porch light was on and the officers were all wearing uniforms and badges, clearly identifying them as police.

“Anyone inside of the home could have easily looked out and seen that there were police officers outside. Anyone inside of the home could have used the doorbell camera to find out that there were police officers outside.

“The officers waited calmly for someone to answer the door, but the longer they waited, the more concerned they became. Before taking further action, Officer Wasson contacted dispatch to verify the address of the calling party.

“Then, Officer Wasson heard the distinctive sound of someone inside the house rack a firearm. Fearing that this person was preparing to shoot at them, all three officers quickly backed away from the porch.

“As they did so, Mr. Dotson abruptly swung the door open with a gun in his hand. The officers drew their service weapons and commanded Mr. Dotson to put his hands up. Mr. Dotson ignored their commands and pointed his gun directly at Officer Wasson.

“Fearing for their lives and the safety of their fellow officers, they had no choice but to defend themselves with deadly force. All three officers fired at Mr. Dotson,” Robles said.