- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico State Police have identified a suspect shot dead last week at Elephant Butte Dam and the deputy who fired the fatal shot.

The agency is investigating the fatal Oct. 20 shooting of 40-year-old Joel Lopes, of Albuquerque, by Sierra County Deputy John Marta.

Authorities say deputies were investigating a report of shots fired when they came across Lopes.

They say Lopes refused to drop his handgun and became a threat to deputies’ safety.

Investigators say Marta fired his weapon and struck Lopes.

The suspect was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Marta has been with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department for a year but has 14 years of law enforcement experience.

State Police say they have completed interviews but not the entire investigation.

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