Suspects accused in murder of Hatch police officer identified

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HATCH, N.M. (KRQE) – A Hatch police officer was shot Friday sparking a massive manhunt that ended with two suspects in custody, both of whom were already wanted for murder.

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed the identity of the man who is accused of shooting and killing 33-year-old Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez.

Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez

They are saying the man is Jesse Hanes, 38, who reportedly had an outstanding warrant for aggravated murder in Ohio.

Witnesses say they heard around six shots when the Hatch police officer was shot while making a traffic stop.

“Me and my wife came out to see what was happening, we went over here near the Dairy Queen to check it out and there was an officer down,” said one witness.

It happened at about 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, when Officer Chavez pulled over a silver car on Franklin Avenue. The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department says Hanes was the driver of a silver 1991 four-door Lexus that was stopped by Officer Chavez at 3:41 p.m. At the time of the stop, Hanes had one front-seat passenger, described as a white male, and another passenger in the rear of the vehicle, described as a black male.

A different officer, also responding to the traffic stop, saw it all as the suspects took off. When the assisting officer arrived, he reported seeing Officer Chavez at the passenger side of the Lexus. The assisting officer said Chavez was holding paperwork, but appeared to also be reaching for his service weapon. The officer said he saw smoke and then reported that Officer Chavez fell to the ground.

An additional officer that was responding pursued the Lexus after Hanes fled. He led her on a high speed chase of close to 100 miles an hour on I-25, but the officer lost the suspects and soon the car exited I-25 at Radium Springs.

According to witnesses at the rest area, a man in a red shirt was seen approaching motorists, allegedly demanding keys to their vehicles. One motorist, who was driving a red Chevy Cruze, was also approached by the man in the red shirt and was reportedly told to hand over his keys and go with the man in the red shirt. The motorist gave the man the keys to the vehicle but refused to go with him. He was then reportedly shot once in the torso. Dispatch reported the time of that call at 4:02 p.m. The motorist at the rest area was transported to a trauma center in El Paso. His condition is also unknown.

Deputies spotted the vehicle nearby, stop sticks went out flattening the tires and the SUV eventually crashed.

“He surrendered to our deputies. At that point, the deputies noticed that the driver of the vehicle who was the suspect again was suffering from a gunshot wound to the thigh,” said Kelly Jameson with DASO.

DASO says that the gunshot appears to self-inflicted. Hanes was transported to an El Paso area hospital where he remains Saturday.

One other suspect was arrested nearby after running off, James Nelson, also wanted out of Ohio on murder charges.

A third man who was in the car when the shooting occurred is reportedly a hitchhiker and is being treated as a witness, not a suspect.

The incident is still under investigation.

No further information is available at this time.

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