BERNALILLO, N.M. (CN) — The widow of a Santa Fe County Sheriff’s officer who was shot to death by another deputy sued her husband’s killer and the bar where they both drank that night.
Officers Jeremy Martin and Tai Chan were returning to New Mexico after dropping off a prisoner in Arizona on the night of Oct. 27, 2014. They stopped for the night in Las Cruces, and went drinking at Dublin’s Street Pub.
According to Sarah Martin’s lawsuit in Sandoval County Court, the men argued at the bar, but continued drinking together; Chan had at least one vodka cocktail of mixed with Red Bull energy drink.
Martin says the pub continued to serve alcohol to the men even after its staff had to “intervene” between them “due to their behavior on the premises.”
The argument apparently continued as they returned to the Hotel Encanto where they were sharing a room, and culminated in Chan’s firing 10 rounds at Martin while Martin fled. Martin was hit five times in the back. He died that night at a Las Cruces hospital.
Chan was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder in November 2014. He was tried in May 2016 and again in May 2017: both resulted mistrials due to deadlocked juries. A third trial is scheduled for April next year.
In her Oct. 20 lawsuit, Sarah Martin says that Chan has admitted under oath that he shot her husband, and that his blood alcohol content that night was “more than twice the legal limit.”
She says the bar should have cut them off, and never should have served the vodka and Red Bull cocktail to Chan, as Red Bull cans come with a label warning not to mix the caffeine-laden energy drink with alcohol.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration has found that “the consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages has been associated with increased risk of serious injury to oneself and to others, as the result of driving while intoxicated, sexual assault, and other dangerous behaviors.”
Martin seeks punitive damages for wrongful death, intentional killing and negligence; and dram shop liability from Dublin’s Street Pub and its owners. She is represented by David Foster, of Santa Fe. Neither he nor the bar owners could be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Dublin’s Street Pub website, checked Wednesday morning, lists a “Fire Friday” drink special on Jager Bombs and Vegas Bombs, both of which are usually made with Red Bull.