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2 officers injured in capture of accused car rammer, shots fired

Police investigate a scene after a suspect allegedly rammed two police officers and was arrested. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Police investigate a scene after a suspect allegedly rammed two police officers and was arrested. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal

Police say Danan Gabaldon, 33, has a habit of stealing cars and ramming into law enforcement officers. They have shot at him three times in the last three months.

The most recent was on Thursday when two Albuquerque police officers were taken to a hospital after Gabaldon allegedly rammed into the cars they were in near Gibson and Unser in Southwest Albuquerque, according to Chief Gorden Eden.

One officer opened fire at Gabaldon but missed him, said Celina Espinoza, a department spokeswoman. She said she didn’t know how many times the officer fired.

Danan Gabaldon, 33.

Danan Gabaldon, 33.

The injured officers were expected to recover.

Gabaldon was also injured and was in stable condition at a hospital, Espinoza said.

She said undercover detectives had been searching for Gabaldon after he allegedly tried to ram an officer while driving a stolen car on Memorial Day. They caught up with him Thursday around 2:40 p.m. in the 8400 block Camino San Martin, she said.

She said when officers tried to arrest Gabaldon, he rammed officers’ cars with a red sedan.

“The suspect got into a vehicle and rammed at least two, maybe three of our vehicles,” Eden said.

Espinoza said officers fired a Taser and beanbags at Gabaldon, and one officer opened fire.

Thomas Gonzalez, who lives nearby, said he and his girlfriend were in their house and heard a car speed by, then three gunshots.

Albuquerque police investigate a shooting on the 8400 block of Camino San Martin SW Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Elise Kaplan/Albuquerque Journal)

Albuquerque police investigate a shooting on the 8400 block of Camino San Martin SW Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Elise Kaplan/Albuquerque Journal)

“When it drove by all we heard was how fast it was going,” Gonzalez said “About two minutes later, we heard the gunshots go off.”

He said that when he went outside, he saw a blue SUV and a red Nissan Altima stopped on Camino San Martin, both with all their doors open.

Alan Rojo, 11, who also lives nearby, said he saw a blue truck crash into a pole next to a church. He said he saw police run up to the truck and later saw an ambulance rush from the scene.

The Memorial Day incident began when police were called to the 1800 block of Indian School NW because someone reported a stolen vehicle. The driver of that stolen vehicle drove toward officer Ryan Graves, allegedly hitting the door to his police cruiser.

Graves fired twice, according to lapel camera video, but Gabaldon escaped. Police have been trying to track him down ever since.

Albuquerque police investigate a shooting on the 8400 block of Camino San Martin SW Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Elise Kaplan/Albuquerque Journal)

Albuquerque police investigate a shooting on the 8400 block of Camino San Martin SW Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Elise Kaplan/Albuquerque Journal)

Graves was placed on paid leave after the shooting.

“We’re starting to see these suspects use these vehicles as weapons and driving right into our officers,” Eden said. “I think it’s a very dangerous trend we’re seeing.”

In March, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputy opened fire on Gabaldon after a deputy said he thought Gabaldon was going to run him over in a white van in the South Valley. Gabaldon was not hit by the gunfire and faces a slew of charges in that incident, including aggravated assault on a peace officer and aggravated fleeing.

Gabaldon has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2005. He was convicted of aggravated fleeing after running from police in a 2005 incident, and of being a felon in possession of a firearm and driving while intoxicated in a 2007 incident and of cocaine possession in a 2010 incident.

He was charged with receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle in October and again in December last year, but both those cases were dismissed.

An August 2014 case, in which he was charged with burglary, tampering with evidence, larceny and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer is still ongoing, according to online court records.

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