Officer Don A. Beckstead was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 40. A few minutes before this traffic stop, Officer James L. Keeton stopped the same vehicle and got into an altercation with the suspect, Bertram Greenberg, and lost his pistol. Greenberg was a suspect in the rape and murder of a 13-year-old California girl. Officer Keeton was shot with his own weapon. It is believed that Officer Beckstead was unaware of this stop or fatal shooting. He was also shot and died two day later. After the shooting of the two DPS officers, Greenberg kidnapped and killed another person before New Mexico authorities shot and killed him.