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Police: Employee holed up in Rio Rancho call center kills self, ending SWAT standoff

Family members say Eugene “Junior” Basurto, 44 is the man who ended his life inside a Rio Rancho call center Friday night. (Michelle Fernandez)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — An armed employee killed himself Friday night after an hours-long standoff at a call center in Rio Rancho, according to a Rio Rancho Police Department spokesman.

Captain Ron Vigil said the man shot himself inside the Bank of America call center, near Carr and Picabo SE, during negotiations with police. Nobody else was injured in the incident.

Although Vigil didn’t identify the man, family members said it was 44-year-old Eugene “Junior” Basurto.

Basurto’s cousin Michelle Fernandez, who lives in California, said Basurto sent the family a text message “saying goodbye” earlier Friday.

Fernandez said Basurto told family he went into the call center and told his boss to evacuate the building “to make sure nobody else got hurt.”

“He didn’t want to hurt anybody,” she said.

Basurto has been battling Hodgkins Lymphoma–and the associated depression–for several years, she said. Most recently, he was in his third remission when doctors found new lumps.

Fernandez said her cousin was good when the two spoke a few days ago.

“He had good days and bad days,” she said.

She described Basurto, who was raised in the San Francisco area, as a “happy-go-lucky” uncle who loved all his nieces and nephews.

He had worked at the call center for less than a year, Fernandez said. The company had helped him with his chemotherapy and healthcare needs.

Police were notified around 2:30 p.m. when those at the call center “perceived a threat” and evacuated the facility of over 300 employees, Vigil said. Negotiators were talking on the phone with Basurto hoping to get a “peaceful resolution” when the line went silent, followed by an “unknown noise.”

“It is very disappointing whenever you have an exchange – you’re hopeful and believe you’re making progress – then it takes a turn,” he said.

Vigil said the investigation is still underway.