5:20 p.m. — A former Marine marksman with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder was identified by police as the man responsible for an eight-hour SWAT situation at the Big I Friday night.
Jason Kerns, 37, spent eight months in jail after pleading not guilty to shooting at a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office helicopter and seriously injuring the pilot in 2005, but the charges were dropped in 2006 when bullet casings from the crash site didn’t match Kerns’ rifle.
Kerns suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a spinal cord injury and depression according to a 2006 Journal story.
Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Simon Drobik said Kerns was retrieved from the vehicle around 4 a.m. Saturday morning and didn’t say a word to police or his lawyer, so he was transported to the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
“There wasn’t even an interview,” Drobik said. “It’s out of our hands, they (the hospital) can keep him for 10 minutes or 10 days.”
Drobik said it’s standard practice to send suspects for a psychiatric evaluation when they don’t openly try to harm an officer or the public. Drobik said Kerns could still be charged in relation to the vehicle crash that sparked the situation, but currently faces no charges.
9:30 a.m. – Police reported the situation on the Big I ended early this morning. A male suspect is currently in custody and being interviewed by detectives, police said via email.
An Albuquerque police SWAT team was trying to negotiate with an armed man on the south-to-east flyover at the Big I late Friday, a standoff that shut some traffic lanes in the area for hours.
APD spokesman Daren DeAguero said the man fled the scene of a crash around 7:30 p.m. on southbound I-25 north of the Big I, and a police officer pulled him over on the flyover ramp.
The suspect showed the officer a gun after he was stopped, according to DeAguero, prompting police to call in a SWAT team and close the flyover, and eastbound I-40 from Second Street to University Boulevard.
DeAguero said the man, who was in a Hummer sport-utility vehicle, had not responded to public address announcements, although he was alive.
DeAguero didn’t know whether anyone was injured in the initial hit-and-run crash.
“It’s just a waiting game right now,” DeAguero said late Friday night. “We’re at a standstill; we’re not getting a response.”
Police were trying to divert traffic away from I-25 while the standoff took place.
“He has the high ground, so we need to keep people away from that area,” he said.
The man’s identity had not been confirmed by police.