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State Police kill shooting suspect near Laguna Pueblo

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A shooting outside a Belen restaurant led to a chase that ended with a New Mexico State Police officer killing the suspect after an exchange of gunfire Saturday afternoon on Interstate 40 west of Albuquerque.

“The identification of the officers and male subject will not be released at this time. No officers were injured during the incident,” State Police spokesman Dusty Francisco said.

The officer involved has been placed on standard administrative leave.

Meanwhile, I-40 was closed for most of the day around milepost 114 near Laguna Pueblo, where the shooting occurred.

Joseph Rowland, a Valencia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the incident unfolded when the man allegedly shot a woman in the arm at the Burritos Alinstante restaurant in Belen. He said that there was no relationship between the two and that the man appeared to be suffering from “mental heath issues.” The woman is expected to survive.

Francisco said that around 11 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office asked for State Police assistance after the man fled a traffic stop with deputies along N.M. 6 and headed toward I-40. He said a State Police officer caught up to the vehicle on I-40 and, along with Laguna police, gave chase when the man refused to stop. The driver evaded multiple spike strips and at least one pursuit-intervention maneuver, before a second such maneuver brought the westbound vehicle to a stop in the median of I-40 near milepost 114.

Francisco said that officers gave the driver commands to exit the vehicle and that a Laguna police officer fired a bean bag round into the window of the vehicle.

He said the man then fired a round through the windshield at officers and a State Police officer fired back, at least one round, at the man. The man continued to ignore commands, and a Laguna officer fired another bean bag before police approached and found the man unresponsive.

Francisco said the man had a rifle in his lap and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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