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Manhunt ends, murder suspect captured

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A homicide suspect who was the subject of a manhunt Monday night just north of Roswell was found and taken into custody Tuesday morning.

Chaves County Undersheriff Charles Yslas confirmed that 29-year-old Kionne Lewis of Midland, Texas, was found by three ranchers in the area of Eden Valley Road. Deputies were then contacted.

“A couple of ranchers had him at gunpoint,” Yslas said Tuesday morning. He said that the ranchers recognized Lewis from social media posts pertaining to the search conducted about 25 miles north of Roswell.

New Mexico State Police, in a press release late Tuesday, stated that when the ranchers first encountered Lewis they were able to convince him to put down the rifle he was carrying and peacefully wait for law enforcement to come to the scene.

He was subsequently turned over to deputies and State Police. The press release states Lewis was then brought to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center for a precautionary medical evaluation.

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Once he was medically cleared, he was booked into the Chaves County Detention Center.

Lewis’s apprehension brought to an end a manhunt that lasted from Monday night into Tuesday morning. The New Mexico State Police Tactical Team and Aerial Drone Unit, as well as Chaves County Sheriff’s deputies and the Roswell Police Department were involved in the search.

Before his capture was announced, authorities had warned that Lewis was considered armed and dangerous.

“Do not approach and call 911 if you see anybody in the area attempting to hitchhike or walk near the roadway,” Yslas said.

The manhunt for Lewis was conducted in a vast stretch of sparsely populated, rugged land.

According to a press release from the Midland Police Department, Lewis had an active warrant out for his arrest on charges of capital murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after he allegedly shot to death a 28-year-old woman at a residence in Midland. A man who was at that same location was also allegedly shot and injured by Lewis.

State Police were contacted at 4:52 p.m. Monday by the Texas Rangers, who requested assistance in finding Lewis, who was believed to be in the area armed with a rifle and driving a 2013 Ford F-150, according to the press release from State Police. Lewis was later spotted in Vaughn by a State Police unit.

“The New Mexico State Police officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Lewis, who rammed the officer’s State Police vehicle disabling it,” the press release states.

Continuing southbound on U.S. 285, State Police encountered Lewis near mile post 143. Lewis allegedly refused to pull over when State Police attempted to initiate a traffic stop of the pickup he was driving. A pursuit reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour then ensued.

When he reached mile post 132, Lewis reportedly drove the pickup off the road and into a pasture for about 60 yards before fleeing on foot.

The search prompted a 12-mile section of U.S. 285 — six miles north and six miles south — to be closed to traffic. Access was restored to that portion of highway later Tuesday morning.

In addition to the charges in Texas, the press release states that Lewis will also be charged in New Mexico with battery on a police officer and resisting and evading arrest.

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

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