Police subdue suicidal man

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Crime: Cisneros charged with aggravated assault on a police officer

By Tris DeRoma

It’s often been said a life is lived in moments. Two days after Thanksgiving, a suspect currently charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, found that out the hard way.

Three officers from the Los Alamos Police Department responded to a domestic call at 5:07 a.m. Nov. 24, involving a suicidal male at a residence in the 2400 block of 35th Street.

When Officer Oliver McCartney, Cpl. Eric Wilhoit and Sgt. Jeremy Duran arrived, a woman identified as Caitlin Smith in court documents answered the door. She told them that Isaiah Cisneros, 26, was upstairs with a gun to his head.

With a side arm and Taser at the ready, McCartney and Wilhoit proceeded upstairs and cautiously peered into the bedroom where Cisneros was reported to be.

There, they saw him. He had his back to the officers and was sitting on the bedroom floor with his legs crossed, hands hidden from the officers’ view. Though McCartney could not see the gun at this point, he told Cisneros several times to drop it.

Cisneros, who according to the police report, had been drinking all night, did not move or respond at first. Then, he suddenly stood up and faced the two armed officers, his loaded handgun visibly at his side. He just stopped short of raising the gun at the officers. Instead, he just stared at McCartney. McCartney again told Cisneros to drop the gun.

Cisneros then spoke, telling the officers “You’re going to have to (expletive) kill me.”

“I again advised Mr. Cisneros to drop the gun,” McCartney wrote in the police report. “Having heard that statement, I began to fear for my life. I had determined in my head that Mr. Cisneros did not want to come out of the situation alive.

“I, again, gave another command for him to drop the gun. I then heard Cpl. Wihoit say the word, ‘Taser’ and I could hear the distinct sound of the pop of the Taser cartridge. I then watched Mr. Cisneros fall backwards to the ground. As the Taser was cycling, I could see the gun fall out of the grasp of Mr. Cisneros, but was still resting in the palm of his hand.

“Sgt. Duran then entered the room and removed the gun from Mr. Cisneros’ immediate area and threw it on the bed.”

According to the police report, Duran discovered that there was a round in the chamber and that the safety was off. It was also determined that there was not a magazine in the weapon.

“I then began helping Sgt. Duran search the residence for any more firearms. We did locate three rifles, which were taken for safe keeping,” McCartney wrote in the police report. “One rifle was found in the bedroom, leaning against a wall, which was near where the confrontation took place. After having the Taser probes removed from his body, Mr. Cisneros decided to refuse medical treatment.”

Wilhoit, however, transported Cisneros to the Los Alamos Medical Center for a mental evaluation. According to the report, it was determined by medical staff that Cisneros needed to go to Las Vegas, N.M, for further mental treatment.

LAPD acting chief Randy Foster, though, said that Cisneros did not go to Las Vegas for treatment.

Cisneros was charged with assaulting McCartney, since Cisneros “willfully and intentionally” threatened McCartney with the handgun.

Foster congratulated the officers on the arrest, calling it a win-win moment for everyone involved.

“It was a very deadly situation they were facing and they were able to resolve it without anyone getting hurt,” Foster said.

As for learning when to choose a Taser over a gun, Foster said that was just pure instinct.

“We can hire the best and the brightest, but to recognize that one moment and seize it, that’s something you just can’t train or prepare for. They both did outstanding work,” he said of McCartney and Wilhoit.

Cisneros made his initial court appearance before Magistrate Judge Pat Casados Nov. 26 and the judge lowered his bond from $8,000 to a $5,000 cash surety bond. A status hearing is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Dec. 11.