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In a tragic turn of events that has both shocked and united the community of Las Cruces, New Mexico, an armed citizen took decisive action to stop a deadly assault on a local police officer, according to reports from KOB 4 News and Las Cruces Sun News.

The incident unfolded on February 11, when Las Cruces Police Officer Jonah Hernandez, a dedicated husband, father and two-year veteran of the force, responded to a trespassing call at a business on the 300 block of South Valley Drive. Officer Hernandez, tragically, was stabbed to death by 29-year-old Armando Silva, who had a history of mental illness and criminal convictions, including violent crimes.

In the midst of this chaos, 29-year-old Issiah Astorga witnessed the attack. Fearing for his life, his girlfriend’s life and that of the officer, Astorga retrieved a handgun from his vehicle and intervened. Despite his efforts to stop the altercation without violence, Astorga was forced to shoot Silva as he advanced toward him in a threatening manner after stabbing the police officer. Astorga and another good Samaritan then attempted to aid Officer Hernandez until emergency services arrived.

The Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced last week they would not pursue charges against Astorga, recognizing his actions as a necessary measure to stop the violent assailant. Astorga, in a statement, expressed deep regret over the incident, highlighting the traumatic impact of the day’s events on himself, his girlfriend and the community at large.

Issiah Astorga Statement (as reported by KOB 4 News):

On February 11, 2024, I witnessed an individual attacking an officer at 335 South Valley Drive. I saw that the individual who was attacking the officer was in complete control of the altercation. I made the decision that I was going to go try to stop the altercation, but I was afraid that the individual attacking the officer could make the decision to disarm the officer of his service weapon.

So, I decided to arm myself with my handgun that I keep in my car, for protection. I then ran towards the fight with the hope of stopping it. As I was approaching, I could see that the officer was bleeding severely from the neck area while continuing to be attacked. I yelled for the attacking individual to stop.

However, in a threatening manner, the individual who attacked the officer turned and advanced towards me. Due to the severe bleeding from the officer, I knew that the individual approaching me had a weapon. Fearing for my life, my girlfriend’s life, and the officer’s life, I fired my handgun. When I felt that it was safe to do so, I tried my best to aid the injured officer. A good citizen who partially witnessed these events helped me try to control the situation and radioed to dispatch the events that had happened.

On February 11, 2024, a tragedy occurred that should have never happened. I, unfortunately, had the burden of being a part of that tragedy, and it will follow me the rest of my life.  I truly wish that the events that happened that day never occurred. If I could go back in time and prevent any of this from happening, I would in a heartbeat. My heart goes out to family, friends, and every single person who has been affected. I hope that as a community, we can help each other to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

As time moves forward and more information becomes available, I hope that everyone can be respectful to those who were directly and indirectly involved. Please refrain from allowing false information to take control of what the true events are. This was an extremely traumatic event.  Please understand that me and my girlfriend need time to cope with what happened and heal from it.

I know that there will always be questions that come from a situation like this. However, I would greatly appreciate it if everyone respected my privacy, so I can continue to focus on my mental health and move forward.

Incident Fallout

Digital billboards by Clear Channel Outdoors were frozen on Feb. 21 in two 30-minute increments in fallen officer Jonah Hernandez’s hometown to honor him. Las Cruces PD Facebook Photo

Officer Hernandez, an El Paso, Texas, native and graduate of Americas High School in 2006, was remembered for his service and sacrifice. His loss has reignited conversations about the challenges law enforcement officers face daily and the broader issues of mental illness and recidivism within the criminal justice system. LCPD Chief Jeremy Story lamented the murder as a stark reminder of these systemic failures.

The community mourned Hernandez’s passing with his body being escorted back to his hometown of El Paso. Chief Story, while expressing grief over the incident, called for a focus on the community’s healing and refrained from further discussion on systemic issues until a later time.

This incident has sparked a wide range of reactions, from gratitude towards Astorga for his courageous act to renewed calls for addressing the underlying societal issues that contributed to this tragedy. While Atorga’s actions weren’t able to ultimately save the officer’s life, he certainly saved his own, his girlfriend’s and potentially others. The heroism displayed in the face of unspeakable violence remains a poignant reminder that armed citizens can and do play a vital roll in all of our communities.



Here’s a video of a press conference held by Las Cruces Police Chief Jeremy Story in which he discusses a plan for improving safety in the town in the wake of Officer Hernandez’s killing. Video from Officer Hernandez’s body worn camera is shared of the incident in this video.

Editors Note: We warn you this video is hard to watch, but should serve to put a fire in anyone who sees it to do all we can to ensure safer communities, not communities where low level offenses such as vagrancy, trespassing, petty theft and drug use are tolerated. It also serves as a glaring example of how quickly an attack can unfold and catch even the best trained among us off guard. Always be vigilant.


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  1. Ahhhh – it’s nice that TTAG is sending the emails that I am subscribed to again.

    • There were some broken and outdated plugins the previous team apparently didn’t realize that we found and have been updating. That may have been the problem for you and others. We are fixing a handful of things today. Let us know if you have any other issues. Sorry for the inconvenience and glad you are again getting the emails.

      • Suggestion: It would be helpful for readers to identify current TTAG staff if you guys use specific Avatars (such as what Justin now uses) or perhaps change your usernames to a different color (blue?) to set them apart visually. It would also look more professional.

        Otherwise, TBH, you look just like any other reader/visitor here. And we still don’t know what anyone on the new team looks like.

        Just my two cents.

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  2. Cool… It is very sad how Our GOD Given Rights are systemically being taken away. Mostly, this will Not stop… Until We the People have No Rights and Until the “People’s Government” is turned into a Totalitarian “government”.

  3. I wonder WHY the HERO kept his personal defensive weapon locked in his car. Had that been ON HIS PERSON my bet is that the perp could have been stopped in time to prevent this Officer’s death by slashing.

    Perhaps this young man could reconsider his decision to keep his weapon where it takes far too long to access it and bring it to bear on the situation. We will never know, but it may be that the fatal slashes were delivered as tthis hero was dashing to his car and back.

    Was he a prohibited person thus not wanting to have it on his person? Doubt it, else the later officers would have made an issue of that. Does his state require a Mother May Card as a precondition to carrying a weapon? tje State then need to deal with that. We HAVE the right to arms alraedy. WHY do states interfere with this right? Perhaps the Hero does not yet have a holster that can comfortably and safely keep that sidearm upon his person. Easy fix… find a gun store that will help.
    While thisnpiece does not specifically say so, it seems this violent punk was there as one of the “homeless” infesting our cities across the land. Here we are once more, “that single issue” rearing its ugly head. WHEN will local policies change to actually DEAL with this issue?

    • Tionico,

      While your comments are very relevant in general, they do not appear to apply in this particular situation. I watched the video and I believe the attacker administered the fatal slash in less than four seconds from when he started to rush the police officer. (It is likely that his first or second slash was to the slain officer’s carotid artery in his neck.)

      Sometimes attackers will succeed in imparting fatal wounds no matter how prepared, careful, and alert we are. (A killer who suddenly ambushes us from a few feet away without ANY previous indication that he/she is going to attack is probably going to kill us.)

      • As the Tueller drill demonstrates and this incident bears proof. Allowing a potential attacker within 21 feet can result in serious injury or death. When not prepared to defend oneself immediately. This incident clearly shows why on some occasions LE shoot first and ask questions later. Now before you start whining about police brutality. Ask yourself. Would you act differently when presented with the same threat? Unfortunately because of all the negative push back against LE. This officer may have hesitated before acting and it cost him his life.

        • Agree. Alot to think about on the 21 feet thing. I mean he barely had time to “unsnap” his holster, if there is such a holster like that. Also a study on why to keep one in the chamber. I agree to that the initial slashes probably sealed the deal. I think i saw blood spurting out on the guy that came to his aid.

    • New Mexico does not allowed the concealed carry of firearms unless you are a CCW permitted. This hero might be a legal owner since vehicle carry is protected but he may not have the time or money to go through our CCW hoops. Lots of costly training and a requalification range time every 2 years.

      Open carry is allowed, but years ago I was told by a police Sgt. in my NM city that yes, open carry is perfectly legal, BUT, if I was seen openly carry they would damn sure find a reason for hauling me in on something like distrubing the peace.

      • “Lots of costly training and a requalification range time every 2 years.”

        CA says hold my beer, we’re working on making it even costlier and harder.

      • He is a very private guy. My wife’s family is from Las Cruces and knew him through friends. He fought in Afghanistan so the story goes. (The good guy w the gunm)

    • Tionico, I was working an off duty security detail at a local 24 hour convenience store one night. There were also three of the local PD on the property as there had been a large event at the rec center that had just let out. The place was slammed. I’m standing outside the front door doing the one in, one out thing. A young man drives up to a gas pump and begins fueling. Another young man comes out of the crowd with a glass bottle in his hand held by the neck. I can see what’s about to happen. Before I can step off the curb and bring my 1911 to bear it’s over. The bottle broken over the victims head then stabbed in the throat. Carotid artery severed. Dead before we could get him out of the parking lot. Tionico, that’s how fast it can happen. I did get my hands on the suspect. The SAO and my deposition convinced the defense to accept a plea that allowed the defendant to avoid the death penalty.

      • This is why I love the TTAG comment section. Thanks for the shared real-life experience Gadsden. Solid lessons there.

        • anti, here’s another take away from that incident. There was myself on the scene. A uniformed deputy sheriff standing at the front door. Marked unit in the first parking place. Three uniformed police officers with marked patrol cars on the property. When the left tells you don’t need a firearm for personal protection let LE take care of your safety, just smile and nod.

        • Gadsden Flag,

          Ooh. The fact that the victim died in spite of multiple law enforcement officers within roughly 50 feet did not register with me. That certainly makes a case for being armed even when police are around.

          That event that you detailed and officer Jonah Hernandez’s event illustrate that sometimes it is just your time. Life ends at some point–sometimes MUCH sooner than you expect. Plan (for eternity) accordingly.

        • Gadsden Flag,

          Interesting follow-up question regarding your event:

          Suppose the victim had been armed and was able to shoot the broken bottle wielding attacker three or four times in a couple seconds–thus prohibiting the attacker from stabbing his neck and severing his carotid artery. If you were on duty, had not seen bottle-dude approaching, had not seen bottle dude attack, and only heard the gunshots before turning around to see the victim with firearm in hand and bottle dude collapsing: would you have opened fire on the victim? Would the other police on scene open fire on the victim as well assuming that they had not seen the events leading up to the victim shooting his attacker?

        • So true Gadsden.
          My close friend is a great cop. When off-duty, even he is never unarmed. Not because it’s a requirement, but because his eyes have been opened to the way the world is.
          At the end of the day, we are each responsible for our own safety.

  4. “The Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced last week they would not pursue charges against Astorga….”

    Seriously, that there even has to be such a statement for such an obvious case of defense is sad.

      • The upper crust want to keep the heroics in house and would rather peons cower in fear and not get involved thus the investigation distraction. And besides state law prevented the citizen from carrying concealed which provided time for the knife wielding perp; they needed their shortcomings kept off the table.

  5. Something should be made clear here. In the video, we hear the statement “Officer Hernandez did nothing wrong.”

    Sorry, but let’s set the feel good aside, and be honest. Officer Hernandez made a fatal mistake, in that he approached a known felon nonchalantly, allowing the felon to take the initiative. Hey, I’m no cop, but I wouldn’t have walked up to that cretin quite so nonchalantly. Officer Hernandez could have had his hand on his weapon, ready to draw, quite reasonably. He could/should have maintained more distance between himself and the suspect, who was pretty obviously breaking the law, just with his presence.

    When the officer finally realized that he might be in danger, it was far to late to react appropriately.

    • Paul,

      Officer Hernandez made a fatal mistake, in that he approached a known felon nonchalantly …”

      I am 99.9% confident that officer Hernandez had no idea whether the attacker was a violent felon. (As far as I can gather from the story, he was responding to a generic trespassing call without any information identifying the attacker.) That being the case the officer may not have done anything unwise at all since no other police officers in Las Cruces have been killed in the line of duty for more than 100 years prior. Remember, that 100 years previous experience made a strong case that someone merely wondering around was not a deadly threat.

      Looking at it another way, every single person that you, he, and I pass on the street could have a large and sharp knife at hand and decide to suddenly slash our necks without any prior indication. Does that mean we should all walk around at all times with handguns in hand and keep at least 25 feet of separation between ourselves and everyone else?

      • RE: “Does that mean we should all walk around at all times with handguns in hand and keep at least 25 feet of separation between ourselves and everyone else?

        Walk around at all times, etc? No. Investigate a trespassing, etc. Yes.

      • uncommon, replying to your above question, no I would not have immediately shot the victim in the scenario you described. I would have been screaming “Drop your weapon!” first. Can’t speak for the other officers.

      • Yea it sounded like at first the cop thought that the bad guy was the guy that had calked the police about the trespassing

  6. The video shows the horrific tragedy of the assailant attacking the officer–and the heroism of two Good Samaritans coming to help the police officer.

    I can only imagine that it was minimally comforting to the incapacitated officer (if he was still conscious) that someone came to stop the violent attacker AND help him in his last moments.

    The video also appeared to show something that I have never seen before and I am very grateful to learn about for future self-defense awareness: it looked like the attacker somehow kept the knife on the top of his forearm, inside his jacket sleeve, and immediately accessible at his jacket sleeve cuff opening. The attacker was casually walking toward the officer and proceeded in a nonchalant manner to use his right hand to discreetly pull the knife out of his left jacket sleeve–which at first looked like he was simply moving his jacket sleeve cuff out of the way to check a watch on his left wrist. Then he rushed the officer (about 10-feet away) with his knife now in his right hand and proceeded to stab/slash in wild and rapid–and ultimately fatal fashion.

    This event reinforces the concept that police officers should respond to calls in pairs–it may have saved this officer’s life.

    My condolences to the slain officer’s family and friends.

    • I’ve seen that kind of forearm draw of a knife before, in overseas ports. It’s not something that I actually watch for, or think about, but other people have used that method of concealing a weapon, with or without an actual sheath strapped to the forearm. I’ve done similar with a billy club tucked into my jacket sleeve in a tense situation. I mean, where else you gonna conceal a billy club? It wouldn’t work so well in warm summer months, of course.

      It’s worth remembering, when confronting a potential opponent, there aren’t a whole lot of good reasons for the suspect to be clasping his hands together, or keeping them close together. In his mind, he may have an ace up his sleeve.

  7. If this had been a non cop citizen that was attacked, no one would have ever known and no one would be calling for change unless it was an alphabet person or illegal.

  8. So it took 30 days for the government to figure out, that the good guy with a gun, did the right thing???

    And violent mentally ill people are allowed to roam freely???
    What a great combination.

    • I think it was actually only two or three weeks, but yeah, seems that one was a no-brainer that shouldn’t have even had to be entertained. But I guess government officials always have to go through their processes. All good points you made.

      • Thanks. But what a sad world we have created. The future is not looking well. Pray and buy more ammo. Everyone will need both sooner than you think.

  9. Citizen is gonna be in a heap of trouble; Mrs. Hitler hasn’t lifted the state of emergency.

  10. This is so wrong.

    If the cops were adequately trained to handle crazies, all that was needed was soft talk, bear/pepper spray and a trip to social services. Same for the “armed citizen”. Just common sense.

    • The problem isn’t training. More to the point it is the fear of being prosecuted for acting. LE all over the country are facing the same threats, both from criminals and liberal/progressive democrat prosecutors. Which explains why many have left the profession and many more refuse to become LE officers. and yes I got the sarc…

      • “More to the point it is the fear of being prosecuted for acting.”

        Kinda raises the question about the judgement of those who do act.

        • And the judgement of those who allow them to be prosecuted for doing their job. At the risk of their life. Just because some liberal/progressive democrat cares more about a scumbag criminal. Than an innocent life. Remember that when you have to face the threat of death.

  11. And as I have said for years…There is always another perp like him, her, it out there somewhere. Some may be closer than you think.

    To the officer’s family, I am sorry for your loss, keep the faith.

  12. @Darkman

    “And the judgement of those who allow them to be prosecuted for doing their job. At the risk of their life. Remember that when you have to face the threat of death.”

    It ain’t yer grandfathers’ America, any more. And as Reagan said, “Freedom is only one generation away from being extinguished….”

  13. The fallacy of hiring non-combatants as police. Two knife fights, batting .500…

  14. but, but, but the anti-gun say this never happens.
    that good people with guns help stop bad people, or help law enforcement

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