A suspect driving a vehicle with an allegedly stolen license plate managed to elude Belen Police during a chase Sunday, but later that night wound up being shot by Los Lunas Police officers after he allegedly pointed an assault-type rifle at them.
The man, identified as Russell Werner, 32, of Albuquerque was recovering from surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital. His condition was not released. Police have charged him with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The Los Lunas Police Department immediately turned over the investigation of the incident to the New Mexico State Police, which issued a press release outlining the event:
According to that press release, Belen Police began chasing red Oldsmobile Alero that was driving with a stolen license plate . The officers backed off the pursuit but issued an all points bulletin to Valencia County law enforcement to be on the alert for the vehicle.
About 10:40 p.m., some 25 minutes after the initial chase, Los Lunas officers conducting an unrelated investigation at the Hilltop Terrace Apartments in Los Lunas, spotted the parked vehicle. A short time later, a man and woman began to approach the officers. The man was holding a “long assault platform style rifle.”
The officers shouted for the man to drop the weapon but instead he raised it and pointed it toward the offers, who fired their weapons and hit the man multiple times.
Police did not release the identity of the woman or say if she was charged with anything. Neither did they release the names of the two Los Lunas Police officers involved in the shooting.