Texico woman charged with assaulting police officer

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks A Texico woman shot by police in a confrontation similar to one that cost her brother his life has been charged with assaulting a police officer.

Robin Fornoff

A Texico woman shot by police after calling for help has been charged with assaulting a police officer.

Lisa Salguero, 31, is accused of trying to toss bleach into Texico Officer Richard Peterson’s face Aug. 21 during a confrontation at her front door — an incident strikingly similar to one that cost her brother his life four years ago in El Paso, Texas.

Salguero’s attorney said she called police for help because she suspected a burglar might be in her house on Katherine Street.

Salguero was shot once in her upper left arm by Peterson.

Two months after New Mexico State Police took over the investigation, Salguero was charged Oct. 25 with felony aggravated assault on a peace officer. She is in Curry County jail on a $10,000 bond, awaiting arraignment Friday in Magistrate Court.

Salguero’s attorney, Dan Lindsey of Clovis, said Wednesday he believes the charge is a smokescreen to protect police.

However, District Attorney Matt Chandler said the charge is warranted given a closer look at the circumstances. Chandler said Peterson was being attacked and had only seconds to react.

Chandler also pointed out eerie similarities in the Texico case to an El Paso shooting that claimed the life of Salguero’s brother, Steven Salguero, in March 2007.

In the El Paso case, Salguero’s brother — a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic — was shot and killed by police after splashing bleach in an officer’s face during a confrontation at his apartment near Fort Bliss. A grand jury investigation cleared the El Paso officer of any wrongdoing. A wrongful death lawsuit later filed by the family was dismissed by a federal judge after the family and police department reached a settlement, according to the El Paso Times.

The investigating officer in the Texico case quotes Lisa Salguero referring to her brother’s death during the confrontation with Peterson.

State police investigator James Butterfield said Peterson was responding to a breaking and entering call. After knocking on the front door and identifying himself, Salguero opened the door and is quoted in court documents as responding, “It’s you, it’s (expletive) you.”

According to court documents, Peterson asked Salguero what the problem was and she responded, “if you didn’t know that is not my last name dumb (expletive).”

Peterson could see a stick or golf club lying on the floor of the house, according to court records.

According to the affidavit: “Ms. Salguero reaches back inside the residence towards where the stick or golf club is located. At this time Officer Peterson clears his service weapon from its holster. Ms. Salguero comes out with a bottle of bleach, and attempts to splash Officer Peterson in the face with it. Officer Peterson began yelling ‘Put it down, Put it down.’ Ms. Salguero continues in an upward motion towards Officer Peterson’s face with the bottle, so Officer Peterson fired one round from his service weapon striking Ms. Salguero in her upper left arm. Ms. Salguero states Shoot me again, kill me like my brother.’”

Lindsey said any charges against Lisa Salguero are not appropriate.

“It’s excessive use of force,” Lindsey said. “They know there’s a lawsuit coming down and they’re trying to protect him (Peterson). That’s how they do it.

“How did he know it was bleach?” Lindsey asked. “And even if it was, he shoots her? Bleach is not a lethal weapon.”