On Saturday at approximately 10:50 a.m., New Mexico State Police responded to assist the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) with a vehicle pursuit on State Road 6, west of Los Lunas, NM.
Valencia County Sheriff’s deputies pursued the vehicle on State Road 6 to Interstate 40. The vehicle merged onto Interstate 40 and proceeded to travel westbound.
A New Mexico State Police officer located the vehicle matching the description of the vehicle that was pursued by Valencia County Sheriff’s Office near the off ramp at milepost 108 near Interstate 40. The New Mexico State Police Officer attempted to initiate a high-risk felony traffic stop. The male driver of the vehicle sped off and a pursuit was initiated.
The vehicle merged onto Interstate 40 eastbound and proceeded to travel east. A Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver was utilized by a State Police officer in an attempt to bring the vehicle to a safe stop. The vehicle continued to travel east on Interstate 40 towards milepost exit 126. The vehicle exited onto the off ramp, turned around and merged back onto Interstate 40 westbound. A State Police officer assisting in the pursuit deployed stop sticks at milepost 120 on Interstate 40. The vehicle continued to travel westbound and another State Police officer deployed stop sticks at milepost 116.
The pursuit ended when a PIT maneuver was utilized on the suspect’s vehicle. The vehicle came to a stop after the vehicle crashed into a cable barrier in the median near milepost 114 on Interstate 40. New Mexico State Police officers with the assistance of Laguna Tribal Police officers gave numerous verbal commands to the sole occupant male driver to surrender peacefully. The male driver ignored commands and refused to exit the vehicle. A Laguna Tribal Police officer deployed a less-lethal bean bag round into a window of the vehicle after officers visually observed the male driver continue to move around inside the vehicle. At some point the male driver produced a firearm and fired it towards the officers through the front windshield of the vehicle. A New Mexico State Police officer returned fire and fired his department issued firearm towards the male driver. Officers continued to give verbal commands to the male driver to exit the vehicle. The male continued to ignore commands given. Officers observed the male driver holding a rifle in his lap. A Laguna Tribal police officer deployed another less-lethal bean bag round towards the male driver after there was no response.
Officers approached the vehicle in attempt to make contact with the male driver and observed the male driver was unresponsive. A Laguna Tribal officer grabbed the rifle, and other officers on scene attempt to render aid. Emergency Medical Personnel were directed to the scene to render additional aid. The male driver died on scene.
The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was requested to investigate the incident. The identification of the officers and male subjects will not be released at this time. No officers were injured during the incident. This information is preliminary, and the investigation is still active and ongoing.
Information from NM State Police