Re-posted by Nicholas Stix
Thanks to A Texas reader for this story.
NM police officer shot and killed; suspects in custody
By Carlos Andres López
Las Cruces Sun-News/WFAA
August 12, 2016, 11:38 P.M. CDT
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- A Hatch, New Mexico police officer died Friday evening after being shot during a traffic stop.
Officials took three suspects into custody hours earlier and said they were allegedly responsible for the officer shooting as well as a carjacking and shooting another man at a rest stop off Interstate 25 in a crime spree that triggered a massive manhunt.
The slain officer was Jose Chavez, a two-year veteran of the Hatch Police Department. Nuñez said he learned of Chavez’s death through police Chief Trey Gimler, who was with Chavez’s family at University Medical Center in El Paso.
“He told me, ‘Mayor, he didn't make it,’” Nuñez told the Sun-News shortly after 9:30 p.m. Friday.
The nearly four-hour episode started to unfold when Chavez pulled over a gray Lexus on Franklin Street at 3:41 p.m., according to Kelly Jameson, spokeswoman for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office.
“During the traffic stop, a passenger who was in that vehicle reportedly exited the vehicle and fired shots at the officer,” Jameson said, adding that another officer had witnessed the shooting and called “on the radio that we had an officer down.”
The Lexus, Cox said, was coming from behind his vehicle and was “weaving around traffic.” It passed him and “came within inches of hitting me.”
[“Cox” was apparently a fellow officer at the scene of the crime with Chavez, whose full name was in a previous version, or whose first name Carlos Andres López, Steve Ramirez, Diana Alba Soular and Lucas Peerman forgot to ever provide.]
After the Lexus passed Cox’s vehicle, it went on the shoulder of the interstate and drove between a semitrailer and the traffic barrier, said Cox, who reported the vehicle to authorities after it exited the interstate.
According to Jameson, the Lexus exited I-25 at the rest stop near Radium Springs.
“The suspects abandoned the vehicle they were in and reportedly carjacked a red Chevrolet Cruze at the rest area and allegedly shot the driver of that car,” Jameson said.
The driver of Chevrolet Cruze also was transported to UMC, she said. The driver's condition is unknown.
“We know that the suspects in the red Chevrolet Cruze from the rest stop went to N.M. 185,” she said. “Deputies who were alerted to that car spotted and gave chase once again.”
Authorities were able to deflate the vehicle’s tires with “stop sticks,” Jameson said, but the driver was able to turn the vehicle into a residence in the 23000 block of N.M. 185. “The suspect was unable to control that vehicle, and it crashed into a pile of wood and came to rest,” she said.
Deputies had to [sic] “coaxed” the driver out of the vehicle, Jameson said. Deputies observed the driver was suffering from a gunshot wound to his thigh. He was taken into custody around 5 p.m. and was transported to a hospital for medical attention.
The two other suspects were captured before 7 p.m. in the 2400 block of Rincon.
No charges had been filed against the three suspects as of Friday evening. And their identities were not immediately known.
The incident triggered an intense, multiple-jurisdiction manhunt that was initiated by sheriff’s office.
“It involved every agency in Doña Ana County,” Jameson said, including federal agencies.
It was unknown Friday when the last time a Hatch police officer had been shot while on duty.
“I can tell you that the Hatch Police Department is eight officers strong. They are a very small department, a very close-knit department,” Jameson said. “I don’t know when the last time Hatch experienced an incident of this nature.”
Sun-News reporters Steve Ramirez, Diana Alba Soular and Lucas Peerman contributed to this article.