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Española shootout kills suspect, wounds police officer

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Mary Romero stands in the bathroom where Rogelio Cisneros-Chavez was shot and killed by State Police Thursday night. A State Police officer was also shot during the incident. Romero is the mother of Chavez' girlfriend who lives at the appartment. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Mary Romero stands in the bathroom where Rogelio Cisneros-Chavez was shot and killed by State Police Thursday night. A State Police officer was also shot during the incident. Romero is the mother of Chavez’ girlfriend who lives at the appartment. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal

ESPAÑOLA – Mary Romero said she ran for the apartment’s laundry room with her pregnant granddaughter and her granddaughter’s 3-year-old son when the gunshots started.

“It was like a nightmare,” she said of Thursday night’s shootout during which her granddaughter’s 22-year-old boyfriend, Rogelio Cisneros-Chavez, was killed and a State Police agent was shot in the stomach.

The agent was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition as of Friday.

State Police spokesman Emmanuel Gutierrez said the shooting, which took place at the home of Heather Romero, Mary Romero’s granddaughter, was still under investigation and he couldn’t provide many details about how it unfolded.

A bullet hole marks where a gunshot shattered a bathroom mirror during a fatal shootout between a larceny suspect and State Police on Thursday night in Española. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

A bullet hole marks where a gunshot shattered a bathroom mirror during a fatal shootout between a larceny suspect and State Police on Thursday night in Española. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

But he did say agents with the State Police Investigations Bureau arrived at the apartment just before 9 p.m. Thursday in an attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Cisneros-Chavez.

State Police acknowledge that multiple gunshots were fired, which ultimately killed Cisneros-Chavez at the scene and left the State Police agent with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.

“He’ll be in the hospital for the next couple of days,” Gutierrez said.

While Gutierrez couldn’t identify the injured police agent, the Journal has learned it was Joey Gallegos, who works out of the Española office of the State Police. He went through surgery following the shooting.

On Friday afternoon, bullet holes, some of them tagged by a crime scene investigation team, riddled Heather Romero’s home – an apartment at the Las Lomas Apartments on NM 76.

Mary Romero said Cisneros-Chavez lived with his own family at a different home, but was visiting her granddaughter’s apartment.

Mary Romero said she now realizes how lucky she, her granddaughter and toddler were to have fled to the laundry room. They originally considered taking refuge in a bedroom that shares a wall with the bathroom from where many of the shots were fired – and where Cisneros-Chavez apparently died.

A measurement tag marks one of numerous bullet holes in the walls of an Española apartment, where a larceny suspect died in a shootout with State Police on Thursday night. (Eddie Moore/journal)

A measurement tag marks one of numerous bullet holes in the walls of an Española apartment, where a larceny suspect died in a shootout with State Police on Thursday night. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

She realized later that some bullets traveled through that wall to the bedroom.

On Friday, broken glass was on the floor of the bedroom from a mirror shattered by gunfire that apparently came from the other side of the wall.

“I look at these bullet holes and get scared,” she said.

There was a bloodstain on the bath tub, which was surrounded by bullet holes in the bathroom walls.

Mary Romero said Heather, who is nine months pregnant with Cisneros-Chavez’s child, wanted to go to her boyfriend following the gunfire, but she held her back.

The agents instructed the family to leave the apartment immediately after the shooting stopped, and it wasn’t until they were outside that Heather Romero realized she was bleeding.

Mary Romero said her granddaughter was grazed in the ankle by a bullet. Heather was still in the hospital Friday, the elder Romero said.

Mary Romero said she thinks Cisneros-Chavez, who State Police said died at the scene from his gunshot wounds, fired first.

No one else was injured in the shooting, according to Mary Romero. The 3-year-old in the apartment is not Cisneros-Chavez’s son, she said.

Cisneros-Chavez had a bench warrant in February issued for his arrest in connection with a 2012 battery and criminal property damage case through the Santa Fe Magistrate Court, according to online court records. State Police said he was also a suspect in a $7,600 larceny case.

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