On September 12, at about 9:30 a.m. New Mexico State Police officer Sharron Duran was on patrol on Interstate 40 at milepost 130 near Laguna. Officer Duran was parked in the median of I-40 when she saw a white GMC pickup following the vehicle in front of it too closely. Officer Duran initiated a traffic stop on the GMC pickup. The pickup was occupied by a male later identified as Robert Benjamin Nelson, 28, of Scottsdale, Ariz.
As Officer Duran made her initial approach, she walked up to the passenger side of the vehicle. Without warning, Nelson fired multiple rounds at Officer Duran through the passenger side door window, which was tinted and in the up position. After being struck by gunfire, Officer Duran 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, Officer Duran 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.
Officer Duran 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)
Officer Duran is also commissioned as a Federal Task Force Officer, so the FBI was involved in the investigation and charged Nelson with the attempted murder of a federal officer and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
Officer Duran is assigned to the New Mexico State Police K-9 unit and has been employed for seven years. This case was investigated by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau.