On Saturday, September 12 at about 9:30 a.m. a New Mexico State Police officer on patrol on Interstate 40 at milepost 130 near Laguna initiated a traffic stop on a GMC pickup. The pickup was occupied by one male later identified as Robert Benjamin Nelson, 28, of Scottsdale, Ariz.
As the officer made her initial approach to the vehicle, Nelson appeared to fire multiple rounds at her head. After being struck, the officer was able to recover and return fire at the suspect. Nelson was able to flee the scene and continue eastbound on I-40. Despite having multiple injuries, the officer returned to her vehicle, gave chase and a pursuit ensued. After a short pursuit, Nelson stopped on Interstate 40 near milepost 135 and exited his vehicle. Laguna officers arrived to assist the state police officer, and Nelson was taken into custody a short time later without further incident.
The state police officer involved sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital where she was treated and released. Nelson was booked into the Cibola County Detention Center and charged with the following crimes:
- Attempt to Commit Murder (30-28-1 Second Degree Felony)
- Aggravated Battery Upon Peace Officer (30-22-25 Third Degree Felony)
- Shooting from a Motor Vehicle (30-3-8 Second Degree Felony)
- Resisting, Evading or Obstructing an Officer (30-22-1 Misdemeanor)
The state police officer involved is also commissioned as a Federal Task Force Officer so the FBI is involved in the investigation and Nelson could face federal charges.
The details that led up to the traffic stop and subsequent shooting are under investigation by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. The name of the officer involved will not be released until interviews are complete. When more information is available it will be released via press release.