LAGUNA, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a traffic stop-turned-shootout on I-40 when a State Police officer was ambushed as she walked up to the passenger side window, and was shot in the hands. The newly-released police footage gives a better idea of what led to the Sept. 12 shooting and how Officer Sharron Duran eventually tracked down the suspect while she was hurt.
The lapel video shows Officer Duran didn’t even reach the passenger window at that traffic stop before three shots ring out from the pickup truck stopped on I-40 near Laguna. Duran fired back as the shooter sped away, hitting his cab window.
Right before this, Duran had pulled over the suspect, Robert Nelson of Arizona, for tailgating a trailer his parents were driving across the country. After all the commotion, Duran described what happened.
“I fell back because he hit me,” she explained. “I aimed at the headrest and started to fire my weapon.” After returning fire, she chased down Nelson for a few miles with bloodied hands on the steering wheel, until Nelson pulled over.
This time, she kept her distance from Nelson. “I want you to walk towards me with your hands up,” she yelled at Nelson. “You move, I will f***ing shoot.”
More police officers arrived to put Nelson in cuffs and he wasn’t offering any explanation for what he did. “I’ll wait for my lawyer,” he said.
As officers searched Nelson’s truck they found the gun along with his cat in a crate right under the line of fire. Meanwhile, Nelson’s father, who had circled back to the scene, couldn’t believe what his son had just done.
“I’m just thankful the officer is OK,” he stated. “Stupid, stupid kid.” Duran tried recalling everything that had happened.
“Can I drive myself to the hospital?” she asked. “I’ve been hit in both hands.”
The federal search warrant also suggests she was shot in the chest but the bullet was stopped by her bullet-proof vest. A formal interview later on, reveals part of her motivation for fighting through the pain.
“I’m not going to let this person take me away from the family and the people that I love,” she said. The federal search warrant said Nelson finally gave himself up after shooting at Duran because he had called his parents while fleeing, to tell them what had happened.
His dad told him to pull over. It’s still unclear why Nelson shot at the officer. Investigators said he doesn’t have a criminal record and he wasn’t wanted for anything.