New Mexico State Police Chief breaks up fight at Starbucks

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A man picked the wrong coffee shop to pick a fight. That’s because the state’s top cop was there to jump into action and put a stop to it.

“It can happen anytime, anywhere,” said State Police Chief, Pete Kassetas.

Chief Kassetas said on or off duty, he’s always alert.

“It really doesn’t matter what rank you are, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to do the job,” said Chief Kassetas.

That means even being ready when grabbing a quick cup of coffee.

It was Tuesday morning when Chief Kassetas stopped at Starbucks on San Mateo near I-25, before heading into work.

After ordering, he noticed a scuffle outside in the parking lot between a driver and a pedestrian.

“The person who was standing outside the window, through the open window of the car, punched the driver in the head,” said the Chief.

That’s when the Chief said he ran out to break the two up.

“I was able to tackle the individual that was punching the driver,” said Chief Kassetas.

Christopher Roybal was the one in the driver’s seat.

“I was lucky he was not only there, but he was paying attention and his actions were spot on,” said Roybal.

He said not only did that pedestrian, who police identified as 47-year-old Lawrence McCormick punch him, he said he also had a knife.

“In the second he pulled out a knife, there was somebody who came out of nowhere, and just tackled him,” said Roybal.

As for what the fight was over, Roybal said it’s because he partially blocked the sidewalk when pulling into the Starbucks parking lot.

“The vehicle in front of me stopped, so I stopped behind them,” said Roybal.

Chief Kassetas said he’s just happy no one was hurt.

“I’m a lot older and a lot slower, so it’s nice I can still get the job done,” said Kassetas.

The suspect, McCormick, is charged with battery for the punch, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the knife. He is also charged for damaging the driver’s hood.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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