Sierra County, NM – On October 20, 2020, at approximately 10:45 p.m., New Mexico State Police officers were requested by the United States Border Patrol for assistance in apprehending a male subject driving a black passenger car that had fled from the U.S Border Patrol checkpoint located on Interstate 25 near milepost 26 north of Las Cruces, NM.
In an attempt to safely stop the fleeing vehicle, a New Mexico State Police officer and a Sierra County Sheriff’s deputy deployed tire deflation devices near milepost 68 on Interstate 25. The male driver, identified as Armando Almaraz Jr. (25) of Las Cruces, NM, drove his vehicle over the tire deflation devices but continued to flee north on Interstate 25.
During the pursuit, New Mexico State Police Officer Mike Jones utilized a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver in an attempt to bring Almaraz’s vehicle to a safe stop on Interstate 25 near milepost 72. Following the PIT maneuver, Almaraz’s vehicle came to a stop behind Officer Jones’s vehicle. Officer Jones exited his vehicle and observed Almaraz driving towards him. He heard Almaraz accelerate his vehicle as he travelled in his direction. Officer Jones fired his duty rifle towards Almaraz, striking him. As Officer Jones was shooting, Almaraz swerved around him and crashed on the east side of Interstate 25.
Officer Jones and other officers gave Almaraz verbal commands to exit the vehicle and Almaraz surrendered peacefully. Almaraz was taken into custody without further incident. Officers rendered emergency aid to Almaraz and he was transported to a hospital in El Paso, TX. Upon his release from the hospital, he was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
After the incident, officers learned Almaraz had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest for the charges of Non-Residential Burglary (Forced Entry) and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Almaraz was wanted for burglary of a gun shop in Las Cruces, NM in which twenty-seven firearms were stolen. Numerous firearms were located in his vehicle at the time of arrest.
The New Mexico State Police charged Almaraz with the following:
- Aggravated Battery on a Peace Officer with a Deadly Weapon (Felony)
- Possession of a Firearm by a Felon (Felony)
- Receipt of Stolen Property (Felony)
- Resisting, Evading or Obstructing an Officer (Felony)
- Failure to register vehicle (Misdemeanor)
- Roadways laned for traffic (Misdemeanor)
Officer Jones was placed on standard administrative leave. Officer Jones has been with the New Mexico State Police for approximately 2 years. Upon completion of the State Police investigation this case will be forwarded to an assigned district attorney’s office for review.