ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An attempt to arrest a wanted man turned into gunfire, a chase and crashes with injuries on the streets of Albuquerque late Saturday afternoon.
Three people, including the target of an undercover police operation are in custody.
An Albuquerque Police Department spokesman said officers with the Repeat Offender Program were looking for Felix Romero, 30, who had cut of his ankle monitor last week.
While officers were conducting surveillance at a northeast neighborhood for Romero, they spotted him in a car with a female. At one point, police said the car Romero was in drove to a nearby neighborhood, where police said the female dropped off Romero.
When officers approached the car at a gas station, they used bean bag shots to break the dark-tinted windows, and found the woman was alone.
However, when officers returned to the neighborhood to canvass the area, police said Romero returned as well. Officer Robert Gibbs, spokesman for Albuquerque Police said an SUV pulled up behind police, and someone inside began shooting at officers' unmarked units.
The SUV sped off, which led to a pursuit lasting about 15 minutes with occasional shots coming from the SUV as pursuing officers held their fire, Gibbs said. The SUV ultimately sped through the southeast toward the foothills area, and ended near Eubank Boulevard NE where it crashed at Interstate 40 at about 5:30 p.m.
Three or four other vehicles were caught in the mayhem with some bystanders treated by EMS on scene, and an unknown number of people taken to a hospital to be checked out.
Speeds reportedly reached 80-100 mph during the chase.
During the chase, officers were also shot at near Juan Tabo and I-40, and Gibbs reported a K-9 officer involved took shots, and his vehicle was disabled. Police said Saturday night, no officers were injured in the incident.
Police never fired shots back, even though officers said authorization was given to disable the vehicle. Gibbs said officers could never reach a safe distance to return fire.
Police said the chase put many lives in danger. "Very erratic there was no set pattern of travel, it was very hard to set up stop sticks or spike belts to try to disable his vehicle because he was constantly changing direction, performing u-turns," said Gibbs.
Romero was arrested after the SUV crashed, as was a passenger, 24-year-old Glenn Garcia. A woman in the car with Romero earlier in the day also was arrested and charged with harboring a fugitive.
Romero has a long criminal record, including armed robbery, violating probation, and battery on a peace officer. According to police, he was wanted on numerous felony warrants.
Police said they recovered a gun and believe the gun used to shoot at police was a semi-automatic weapon. They're still working to find out exactly who was shooting at officers.
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