Socorro man steals truck, ends in officer-involved shooting

Crime

SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – Authorities are reporting an officer-involved shooting involving New Mexico State Police on southbound I-25 in Socorro County on Saturday. According to an NMSP press release, officials learned the Socorro County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a burglary at a horse farm in Veguita, NM around 10:00 a.m.

The victim was able to provide deputies with a license plate of the suspect’s vehicle. A search on the plate gave a Socorro apartment address, but the vehicle was not at the residence.

Officials say around 12:30 p.m., deputies went back to the apartment and found the car. While deputies attempted to locate the apartment, the burglary victim from earlier that morning called police again to report her pickup truck had now been stolen. Deputies were able to locate the pickup on a street near the apartments they were searching. When deputies attempted to approach the driver of the truck, he drove off, leading SCSO deputies to follow.

The driver of the truck led deputies in and out of Socorro, eventually going onto the frontage road along southbound I-25 near the San Antonio exit at mile marker 145. The suspect eventually drove the truck off of the road and into a culvert between the frontage road and the exit.

Officials say the driver then got out of the vehicle with a bottle of alcohol in his hand and started to pour its contents onto the drivers side of the vehicle. After throwing rocks towards officers and deputies, the suspect set the truck on fire and pulled out a handgun. According to the press release, the suspect pointed the gun at the officers as well as his own head. The suspect reportedly did this for about 15 minutes while pacing back and forth.

At this time, the SCSO requested help from State Police. The NMSP Tactical Team and Crisis Negotiation Team were dispatched to assist. Officers commanded the suspect to put the gun down but he disobeyed the commands.

Once again, the suspect pointed his gun at officers, and an NMSP sergeant fired his rifle towards the suspect, hitting him. The suspect fell and dropped his gun but continued to reach for it. That’s when another shot was fired towards the suspect. He was eventually detained, received first aid from the officers, and was transported to an area hospital. The condition of the suspect is currently unknown.

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on standard administrative leave. Officials say the identities of the suspect and officers involved will not be released until after officer interviews have been completed and the suspect is formally charged.

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