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New Mexico State Police Officer Involved in Shooting on Interstate 25 in Sierra County

Oct 21, 2020

Sierra County, NM - On Tuesday at approximately 10:45 p.m., New Mexico State Police officers were requested by the United States Border Patrol for assistance in apprehending a male subject driving a black passenger car that had fled from the U.S Border Patrol checkpoint located on Interstate 25 near milepost 26 north of Las Cruces, NM.

In an attempt to safely stop the fleeing vehicle, a New Mexico State Police officer and a Sierra County Sheriff’s deputy deployed tire deflation devices near milepost 68 on Interstate 25. The suspect drove the vehicle over the tire deflation devices but continued to flee north on Interstate 25.

During the pursuit a New Mexico State Police officer utilized a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver in an attempt to bring the suspect’s vehicle to a safe stop on Interstate 25 near milepost 72.   Following the PIT maneuver, the suspect’s vehicle crashed into the State Police officer’s vehicle.  After coming to a stop, the State Police officer exited his police vehicle and was standing next to the vehicle.  The suspect then began driving forward again, this time driving towards the officer.  At that point the New Mexico State Police officer fired his department issued firearm towards the suspect’s vehicle. 

The suspect’s vehicle came to a stop and officers gave the driver verbal commands to exit the vehicle and surrender peacefully.  The male driver identified as Armando Almaraz Jr. (25) of Las Cruces, NM was taken into custody without further incident.  Almaraz had sustained gunshot wounds and emergency aid was immediately rendered by officers.  Almaraz was transported to a hospital in El Paso, TX and is currently in stable condition.

After the incident, officers learned Almaraz had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest for the charges of Non-Residential Burglary (Forced Entry) and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.  Almaraz was wanted for burglary of a gun shop in Las Cruces, NM in which twenty-seven firearms were stolen. Numerous firearms were located in his vehicle at the time of arrest.    

The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was requested to investigate the incident. The identification of the officers involved will not be released at this time until all interviews have been completed. No officers were injured during the incident. This information is preliminary, and the investigation is still active and ongoing. 

 Information from NM State Police