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Man and Chaves County Sheriff’s deputy exchange gunfire; Police say suspect opened fire at officer on highway

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The New Mexico State Police are investigating a shooting between officers and a man in Chaves County late Wednesday afternoon. There were no injuries reported during the altercation.

The NMSP said what started as a courtesy check escalated to a man yelling and firing bullets towards a Chaves County sheriff’s deputy.
Following the exchange of gunfire, the man was captured three hours later and was arrested. The NMSP investigated the scene and closed off U.S. Route 380 Wednesday night from mile markers 162 to 201.
New Mexico State Police spokesman Carl Christiansen said the shooting happened around the 195 mile marker in a desert-like area, which is approximately 40 miles east of Roswell according to Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.
Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder wrote from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page that at about 5:15 p.m., two deputies responded to investigate a suspicious subject near the rest area on U.S. Route 380.
“The deputies were not able to locate anybody,” Snyder wrote. “While the deputies were checking the area within a few miles of the rest area, one deputy found a person approximately one mile west of the rest which they had not seen when they passed that area previously.”
Snyder said the suspicious subject was on foot and no vehicles were in the area. After a deputy attempted to make contact, the man walked away and declined to speak, and then produced a handgun, the sheriff said.

“(He) fired several shots in the deputy’s direction as the deputy sought cover behind his vehicle,” Snyder wrote. “The deputy returned fire before the subject ran south, off the highway, and into the vast sand dunes.
“Additional deputies, New Mexico State Police and Lea County deputies responded to assist.
“The second deputy in the area arrived at the scene just as the subject began to flee on foot.”
Snyder said that the man was located at about 8 p.m., east of the original shooting location. He was taken into custody without further incident, the sheriff said.
“The subject was found to be uninjured and was taken into custody by the New Mexico State Police,” Snyder wrote.
The New Mexico State Police first mentioned the shooting through Twitter at 6:58 p.m. Wednesday where they said they were investigating a deputy-involved shooting in Chaves County.
“We went to go check on a — they reported an individual on the roadway, and we were just going to do a courtesy check to see, and that’s when they made contact,” Christiansen said. “The individual was in the roadway, yelling at the officers when they pulled up, and started shooting in the direction of the officers — the deputies.”
Snyder wrote that he was proud to report that the deputy involved was not harmed.
“Please keep our many law enforcement officers and their families in your prayers as they continue to serve and protect our communities,” Synder ended.
Christiansen said the highway had to be closed to preserve evidence from the scene.
The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office has turned the investigation over to the New Mexico State Police.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.