BCSO details deputy shootout with rifle-wielding suspect - Albuquerque Journal

BCSO details deputy shootout with rifle-wielding suspect

A crime scene photo of the bullet hole left in a deputy’s vehicle after a gunfire exchange with 42-year-old Jose Santillano March 12 outside a mobile home in Southwest Albuquerque. (BCSO)

Deputies surrounded the trailer in the dark of night. Inside Jose Santillano reportedly paced — armed with a rifle. The 42-year-old told a deputy he would kill one of them. “I promise. I will,” he said.
Soon after, a bullet fired from a window went through the windshield of a deputy’s vehicle. With nobody in the driver’s seat, the bullet embedded in the headrest.
One deputy fired back and a brief gunfight erupted, according to authorities, as Santillano fired through the wall of the trailer, nearly hitting the deputy as bullets tore into a fence he was taking cover behind.

On Thursday, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office detailed the March 12 incident that ended after deputy Jeremy Ruckman wounded Santillano during the gunfire exchange at a mobile home park in the 200 block of Atrisco Vista SW.

Deputy Jeremy Ruckman (BCSO)
Jose Santillano (BCSO)

Ruckman shot Santillano two times, in the leg and chest, and shrapnel struck him in the face. The guns used by Santillano, a convicted felon, were not stolen and a detective said they have submitted a firearms trace to learn where he got the rifles.

During the briefing a visibly frustrated Sheriff John Allen railed against the fact that Santillano was on the streets after being charged Feb. 24 with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

“Once again, why is this offender out in our community, re-victimizing and reoffending people of our beloved community?… I guarantee you that nobody can answer my question,” Allen said.

But court records show prosecutors never filed a pretrial detention motion — required to keep someone behind bars until trial — in that case, Santillano’s second such arrest is just over a month.

Allen continued, “If we do not work together, and keep bringing these issues up, we’re going to have the same problems over and over and over again.”

Santillano is charged with aggravated battery against a household member with a deadly weapon, two counts each of shooting from a dwelling and being a felon in possession of a firearm and several counts of assault with intent to commit a violent felony on a peace officer.

During the briefing BCSO shared segments of 911 calls and videos from lapel and dash cameras of the incident as it unfolded.

It began around 3:55 a.m. when a woman called 911 to report her “paranoid” ex-husband, Santillano, broke into her trailer with a rifle, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. The woman was scared to stay on the phone but kept BCSO on the line as deputies responded.

BCSO Chief Deputy Nicholas Huffmyer said it took deputies almost a half-hour to get to the trailer because the gate code for the mobile home park “had been changed and we weren’t notified about it.”

Deputies said at 4:25 a.m. the woman exited the trailer and deputies could see Santillano pacing around inside with a rifle. Around 5:10 a.m. BCSO heard what sounded like a gunshot from the trailer and a deputy was able to get Santillano on the phone.

“We heard a loud pop and wanted to make sure you were OK,” the deputy said to Santillano in lapel video released by BCSO. Much of what Santillano says in the phone call cannot be made out, but at one point he told the deputy, “I’ll kill one of you guys. I promise. I will.”

Huffmyer said around 5:20 a.m. Santillano fired a shot from the window of the trailer at a BCSO vehicle. He said thankfully a deputy wasn’t inside at the time because the bullet went “where a deputy’s head would be.”

Deputies said Santillano fired another shot and Ruckman returned fire from behind a nearby fence. Huffmyer said after a short pause Santillano fired through the wall of the trailer toward Ruckman, who initially thought he was hit and returned fire again.

In the lapel video, you hear Ruckman grunting as if in pain.
“Some of the debris from the fence had impacted (Ruckman’s) leg and in that split second he just wasn’t entirely sure if he had been shot,” Huffmyer said.

Santillano called BCSO dispatch around 7 a.m. to report that he had been shot in the face and needed an ambulance and he was detained by 8:30 a.m., according to the complaint. Afterward, his ex-wife told deputies Santillano had barged in around 3:15 a.m. with a rifle and “an evil look” — telling her “someone is going to get hurt/die tonight” and she called 911.

The site of the shooting has had a number of high-profiles crimes in recent months, including the unsolved double-homicide of two teen brothers.

During the briefing, Allen said he believed due to the low income demographic, and possible undocumented people living there, many crimes go unreported.

“We know that we need to start looking into and providing resources to that area,” he said. “It is a lower economic area also, at the same time, so where are the resources coming from? And are these people being helped? And what can we do as a sheriff’s office, other than responding in a negative light, to make sure that we’re out there as a tool and a resource for them to help with their success?”

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