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State Police shoot, injure suspect near TorC

Armando Almaraz (State Police)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A New Mexico State Police officer shot and injured a suspect – later tied to the theft of 27 weapons from a Las Cruces gun store – after a chase along Interstate 25 on Tuesday night near Truth or Consequences.

Armando Almaraz Jr., 25, is recovering from his gunshot wounds at an El Paso hospital; no officers were injured in the incident, State Police spokesman Dusty Francisco said.

Almaraz had a warrant out for his arrest related to the gun store burglary the night before. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, Border Patrol agents asked for help catching a man who fled from a checkpoint north of Las Cruces, Francisco said. State Police and Sierra County sheriff’s deputies tried using spike strips on I-25 near Caballo Lake.

A few miles farther up the road, an officer used a pursuit intervention technique to stop the suspect’s vehicle. Francisco said the officer got out of his vehicle and Almaraz began driving toward him.

“At that point, the New Mexico State Police officer fired his department-issued firearm toward the suspect’s vehicle,” he said. “The suspect’s vehicle came to a stop, and officers gave the driver verbal commands to exit the vehicle and surrender peacefully.”

Francisco said Almaraz was taken into custody and taken to a hospital. He said numerous firearms were found in his vehicle.

Almaraz is charged with aggravated burglary, breaking and entering, and possession of firearms by a felon in a break-in at Miller Guns & Ammo in Las Cruces.

According to court records, Almaraz broke into the shop before 11:30 p.m. and began breaking display cases and taking guns. Police say security video shows a clear view of Almaraz’s face during the break-in.

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