On Saturday, December 5, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was called to investigate an Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) on Interstate 25 (I-25) at about milepost 147, south of Socorro.
Investigators learned that on Saturday, December 5, at around 10:00 a.m., the Socorro County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) took an initial report of a burglary at a horse farm that occurred in Veguita, NM. The victim provided SCSO with the license plate of the suspect’s vehicle. The license plate came back to a black Chrysler passenger vehicle registered in Socorro, which led SCSO deputies to an apartment complex in Socorro, however, the vehicle was not there.
At around 12:30 p.m., SCSO deputies went back to the apartment complex and found the vehicle. As they were attempting to locate the suspect’s apartment, a second call came in from the same victim in Veguita advising her vehicle, a white 2017 pickup truck was also stolen. SCSO deputies saw the stolen white pickup truck on a street near the apartment complex. When deputies attempted to make contact with the driver in the truck, he fled prompting SCSO to initiate a pursuit with the vehicle.
The suspect led deputies on a pursuit in and out of the city then eventually got onto the frontage road along I-25 southbound. The suspect drove the vehicle off the road and ended up in a culvert between the frontage road and I-25 near the San Antonio exit at milepost 145.
The suspect got out of the vehicle with an alcohol bottle and started pouring the contents onto the driver’s side of the vehicle. The suspect also threw rocks towards the officers and deputies. The suspect then set the vehicle on fire and eventually pulled out a handgun. The suspect began pointing the handgun towards the officers and towards his head. The suspect would continue pointing the handgun at the officers and back at his head for approximately 15 minutes while pacing back and forth.
This is when SCSO requested the assistance of the New Mexico State Police. State Police Uniform officers arrived to assist, and the New Mexico State Police Tactical Team and Crisis Negotiation Team were dispatched to assist. Officers gave commands to the driver to put the gun down, but he continued to disobey the officers’ commands.
Officers and deputies positioned themselves on either side of the culvert. The suspect pointed his gun towards officers on the east side of the culvert, at which point a New Mexico State Police Sergeant fired his duty issued rifle towards the suspect, striking him. The suspect fell to the ground and the gun fell out of his hand. The suspect was given commands to not reach for the gun, but the suspect continued to disobey the officers’ commands and reached for the gun. A second State Police officer fired less-lethal munitions towards the suspect. The suspect was eventually secured, and officers rendered first aid. The suspect was transported to an area hospital where his condition is not known.
This incident is under investigation by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. The officer involved has been placed on standard administrative leave. The identification of the suspect and officers involved will not be released until after officer interviews have been completed and the suspect is formally identified and charged. More information will be released via press release when available.