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Standoff ends with arrest of shooting suspect

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Members of the Roswell SWAT team prepare to leave the scene of a standoff at the 500 block of Oklahoma Avenue in Lake Arthur Thursday afternoon after a man wanted in connection with a March shooting surrendered to police. (Alex Ross Photo)

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A three-and-a-half-hour standoff in Lake Arthur Thursday ended with a man wanted in connection for a shooting being taken into custody.

Jacob Montoya, 29, of Lake Arthur, who had barricaded himself in a trailer house at the 500 block of Oklahoma Avenue eventually surrendered to police officers and Chaves County Sheriff’s deputies without incident.

“We’ve got him,” Sheriff Mike Herrington said. He added that no one was injured during the ordeal.

Montoya had been wanted by deputies for allegedly shooting and wounding his girlfriend during a March 26 domestic dispute, where the victim had sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Herrington said days after the shooting that detectives and deputies had been following up on tips about sightings of Montoya in Lake Arthur and surrounding communities, but were unable to capture him.

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Montoya is now being held at the Chaves County Detention Center on a probation violation and was also taken in for questioning as it relates to the shooting, Herrington said Thursday.

Deputies learned of Montoya’s presence in the area at about 12:30 p.m. while responding to another call. Herrington said residents told deputies Montoya had gone into the trailer house and was armed. When he emerged, deputies did not find a gun on Montoya.

Montoya was ordered by deputies outside the trailer house to exit the residence, but did not do so, although several other people inside heeded the orders, but Montoya was not among them, Herrington said.

Montoya later came out of the house as soon as members of the Roswell Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team arrived in armored vehicles and ordered him to do so.

“Once the SWAT team showed up, he surrendered quickly,” Herrington said.

He said that in all, six deputies and two detectives with the Sheriff’s Office, an officer from Hagerman and 15 police officers with the Roswell SWAT team were on scene Thursday.

Though brief, the standoff did cause disruption in Lake Arthur, with police closing down the area of the street to thru traffic around the trailer house.

Lake Arthur Elementary School – just a few feet away from the action – was placed on lockdown. Students were prevented from leaving the school as a safety precaution. Lake Arthur Municipal Schools announced on their Facebook page Thursday afternoon that the lockdown was ordered because of law enforcement activity.

“Parents, your students’ safety is our priority. Until the sheriff’s department gives us permission, our students can’t and won’t be released,” a post on the Facebook page said.

A second post on the School’s Facebook page stated the sheriff recommended all students be picked up from the back door of the elementary school, while students who are bused would ride at their regularly scheduled times, unless they were picked up by their parents.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.