LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Two Valencia County sheriff’s deputies are in the hospital after they were injured following a shooting Friday afternoon roughly 20 miles west of Los Lunas. One suspect is dead and another suspect is in custody. On Saturday, the suspect was identified as 28-year-old Jose Angel Baca of Los Lunas.
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According to a news release from NMSP, deputies with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office were called to NM State Road 6 around 3 p.m. Friday for a suspicious vehicle. Soon after, Baca shot at and hit a deputy before the suspects took off in a white Dodge pickup. It’s unclear where that deputy was struck. NMSP says deputies quickly found the vehicle and chased them through Los Lunas.
“A deputy was dispatched to State Road 6 around milepost 19 to investigate some suspicious persons, as he arrives on scene he makes contact with two individuals the exact details of that contact between the deputy and the two individual are still being investigated, we’re looking into to that piece to figure out what exactly happened but at some point, it appears gunfire was exchanged between the male suspect and one of the Valencia County deputies,” said Chief Tim Johnson of NMSP.
Some people driving along Main Street got into crashes during the chase but it’s unclear how many but some crashes involved injuries.
NMSP says Baca’s vehicle then got onto State Road 314 and then crashed near the railroad tracks at 314 and Davila Road. NMSP says Baca got out of his vehicle and began to fire shots at deputies. NMSP says two deputies fired back at the suspect and during the exchange, a deputy was hit with shrapnel.
At one point, an NMSP officer fired his gun, striking Baca. On September 17, that officer was identified as NMSP Officer Wilson Silver. Ofc. Silver has been with state police for almost six years. The Valencia County Sheriff said that both deputies have non-life-threatening injuries but they are being treated at UNM Hospital.
The other suspect, a female fled the scene on foot but officers did catch her. NMSP says the names of the officer and deputies involved will not be released at this time and the NMSP officer was placed on standard administrative leave.
Highway 314 near Davila Road was closed in both directions during the investigation. People who live in the area say it’s sad another shooting happened especially following the recent shooting in Albuquerque that injured four APD officers.
The NMSP chief reached his boiling point. “Beyond disgusted with the violence we are seeing in this state, I know there’s a lot of talk rhetoric next session will be about crime I hope I’m invited. I have some things to say about that hopefully get some things fixed but again just beyond disgusted with what we’ve been seeing across the state for the last four, five months, maybe longer,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, the Valencia County sheriff says it’s hard to shake off what’s happened. “Just ask for prayers for deputies and their families because they will never be the same, incidents like these will stay with them forever and they’re expected to continue in their career in this capacity and it’s never easy to put these things aside and it affects them and their families and so I ask prayers fo them,” said Denise Vigil of the VCSO.
The Valencia County sheriff and NMSP chief are both calling on lawmakers to take a second look at bail reform. They’re asking legislators to make sure that the state will be tougher on keeping people behind bars until their trial. NMSP is investigating the shooting.