VIDEO: A Great Cop, Remembered

Officer Nigel Benner was drawn to service, and by all accounts excelled at it

By Calibre Press  |   May 28, 2015

Just after 8 p.m. Monday, May 25, Officer Gregg “Nigel” Benner was shot during a traffic stop near Southern Blvd. and Pinetree Rd. in Rio Rancho, N.M. He later died at UNM Hospital, the department confirmed early Tuesday.

Benner, 49, was a four-year veteran of the department and a married father of four adult children. He was also an Air Force veteran.

“Officer Benner was a dedicated military veteran and law enforcement officer and his tragic death is deeply saddening to the tight-knit community of Rio Rancho,” Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said in a statement. “The City of Rio Rancho mourns his untimely death and I urge community members to keep Officer Benner’s family in their thoughts and prayers. Our police officers hold a special place in our hearts as they lay their lives on the line every day protecting our safety and this is a stark reminder of their sacrifice.”

RRPD said this is the first time an officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty in the department’s 34-year history.

Monday night, Benner pulled over a man and woman in an 1999 Dodge Durango at Arby’s on Southern Boulevard. The license plate attached to the Durango did not match the vehicle, according to a police spokesperson.

The suspects, a female driver and a passenger — a man identified as 28-year-old Andrew Romero — then fled in the vehicle and ended up near the Esther Bone Memorial Library. Details are emerging but police confirmed finding three casings from a handgun. Benner was hit in the torso.

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Officer Benner attended the Officer Street Survival Training seminar in honor of James McGrane Jr. in March of this year, and in fact ended up chatting with lead instructor Jim Glennon.

“This is just such a terrible loss,” says Glennon. “Here you have such a powerful force for good in this community cut down in the prime of his life. And for what?”

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Police Chief Michael Geier
Rio Rancho Police Department
500 Quantum Rd NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Phone: (505) 891-5900
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