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UPDATE: Socorro County Sheriff’s Officer-Involved Shooting in Veguita, NM

Veguita, NM – On June 17, 2021, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was called to investigate an officer involved shooting in Veguita involving the Socorro County Sheriff’s Office.  All deputies were uninjured.  There were reports of a vehicle on fire. 

Investigators learned that on June 17, 2021, at around 9:00 p.m. the Socorro County Sheriff’s Office was called to 78 Pedro Place in Veguita for a report of shots fired.  A neighbor called 911 reporting a white Dodge pickup occupied by several people was parked in front of 78 Pedro Place shooting guns at the residence, which was unoccupied.

When Socorro County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Richard Lopez and Deputy Carlos Valenzuela arrived on scene, they were met with gunfire. A male suspect, later identified as Dean Gross, 36 of Albuquerque, NM, fired at least one shot at the deputies.  Both deputies fired their department issued weapons at the suspect.  During the exchange, the Dodge pickup was struck by gunfire and there was an explosion.  After the explosion one of the males, later identified as Max Jaramillo, 29 of Los Lunas, NM fled the scene on foot into the desert. 

Dean Gross, Joseph Ramalia and two females remained on scene and were detained by deputies. Dean Gross and one of the females sustained serious injuries from the explosion and were transported to an area hospital.  They are currently hospitalized in stable condition.  Dean Gross, upon his release from the hospital, is facing charges of Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer (two counts) and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  Joseph Remalia, 26, of Los Lunas was released from the hospital and booked into the Socorro County Detention Center and charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Max Jaramillo was later located by deputies deceased in a nearby arroyo.  Jaramillo was sent to the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) for autopsy.  OMI determined he was not struck by gunfire, but the cause and manner of his death is pending.

Lt. Richard Lopez has 21 years of previous law enforcement experience and has been employed with SCSO for 1 month.  Deputy Carlos Valenzuela has eight years of previous law enforcement experience, and this was his first day on the job with SCSO.  For information on their duty status please contact the Socorro County Sheriff’s Office.  No deputies were injured during this incident.  The identity of the female who was injured will not be released by State Police unless she is charged at a later date. 

This incident was investigated by New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau Agents and Crime Scene Team.  At the conclusion of the investigation, all reports will be turned over to the appropriate district attorney’s office for review.  

Information from NM State Police