Home News Local News Man accused of stealing RPD vehicle held without bail

Man accused of stealing RPD vehicle held without bail

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Photos Courtesy Sheriff Mike Herrington In these June 4 file photos, a unit belonging to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, which collided with a utility pole on Country Club Road and Washington Avenue after attempting to avoid hitting a civilian vehicle during a pursuit involving a stolen Roswell Police Department vehicle. Judge Thomas Lilley of New Mexico's 5th Judicial District at a hearing Tuesday granted a motion for pre-trial detention of Luiz Gauna, 34, of Roswell, who was charged in connection with the incident.

A local man who allegedly stole a marked Roswell Police Department vehicle and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase into a neighboring county will remain held without bail following a judge’s ruling.

District Judge Thomas Lilley at a hearing Tuesday in Chaves County granted a motion by the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the pretrial preventive detention of Luiz Gauna, 34, of Roswell, according to court documents.

An order signed by Lilley states that through clear and convincing evidence, the court determined Gauna represents a threat to other individuals or the community and no conditions of release could ensure the safety of other people or the public.

Gauna is charged with one count each of aggravated battery upon a peace officer, deadly weapon; unlawful taking of a motor vehicle; aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault upon a peace officer.

In their request for the motion of pretrial preventive detention, the prosecution stated the crime is evidence Gauna should not be released.

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“Defendant’s behavior shows he will utilize any object, item or resource available to pose a danger to others or the community as he has no respect, or desire to yield to the authority to the state, there are no conditions, or combination of conditions of release that will modify or curb this behavior of this defendant who has exhibited this behavior,” the motion states.

The state also cited Gauna’s criminal history, which according to the motion, includes criminal sentences for aggravated assault with a firearm, attempted aggravated burglary, criminal trespass; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer and escape from a community release program.

Frank Patterson, Gauna’s attorney, could not be reached for comment about the decision or the ruling before press time Wednesday.

Charges against Gauna stem from a June 4 altercation with a Roswell patrol officer who had stopped Gauna in the area of East Albuquerque Street and South Virginia Avenue to speak with him, according to a release issued at the time by the New Mexico State Police.

When the officer stepped out of his patrol unit and approached him, Gauna, who was riding a bicycle at the time, allegedly pulled three tennis-ball-sized rocks from his pocket and struck the officer with them.

Gauna then reportedly jumped into the officer’s unit and sped off.

Officers from RPD and NMSP, as well as Chaves County deputies, pursued the stolen unit as Gauna allegedly drove at high speeds into oncoming traffic to avoid tire deflation devices meant to immobilize the stolen unit.

Gauna was apprehended at milepost 77 on U.S. Highway 285 when he crashed head-on into a northbound pickup truck.

Guana, along with the officer he struck with rocks, the female driver of the pickup truck and a Chaves County Sheriff’s deputy — who crashed a marked unit during the pursuit — all sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

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