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Cop death toll rises: Officer killed in New Mexico shootout

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Flags were flown at half-staff at a New Mexico police department after a shootout left one officer dead.

After attempting to chase down a 38-year-old felon with three active arrest warrants, the 33 year-old officer was allegedly fatally shot by the suspect, CBS News reported. Clint Corvinus, a four-year veteran of the force, is survived by his parents, girlfriend and an 8-year-old daughter, police said.

Joseph Moreno, the suspect, died after being shot during the incident near a trailer park in Alamogordo, a desert town of about 31,000 people.

“I am again so very saddened to see that yet another courageous law enforcement officer has been killed in the line of duty,” Gov. Susana Martinez said in a statement. “The violence against our police officers has to end, and we must do everything we can to stand up for those who put their lives on the line every single day to protect us.”

Corvinus was on patrol with another officer as a field training officer Friday morning. Moreno led the officers on a foot pursuit before the exchange of gunfire, authorities said according to CBS.  Corvinus was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:18 a.m., police said.

Moreno, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had a long criminal history and was scheduled for trial in December on drug charges. An Alamogordo booking photo showed Moreno with dramatic facial tattoos.

Corvinus’ death is the second fatal shooting of a police officer in a rural area of the state in less than a month, CBS reported. Officer Jose Chavez was killed by an Ohio fugitive during a traffic stop three weeks ago, which saw the suspect caught after a dramatic car pursuit, a carjacking and the shooting of a bystander.

As  mourners left flowers outside the Alamogordo police department, law enforcement and members of the state’s congressional delegation issued statements to support Corvinus’ family and colleagues. New Mexico’s House Majority leader and Albuquerque Republican, Rep. Nate Gentry, issued a statement calling for laws that keep violent criminal behind bars.

“Over the course of the last year, we have lost far too many of our law enforcement community,” Gentry said in the statement. “While we take time to mourn the tragic killing of Officer Clint Corvinus, give our heartfelt appreciation for his service and extend our sympathies to his family, we must also renew our commitment to pass laws that will put – and keep – the violent criminals who terrorize our communities behind bars.”

The Republican governor has renewed calls to reinstate New Mexico’s death penalty which was repealed it in 2009 before Martinez took office. The former prosecutor said she would back legislation for capital punishment when the Legislature convenes in January.

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Frieda Powers

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