GALLUP, NM (January 30, 2024) – The Gallup Police Department has begun its criminal investigation into the suspect of the December 10, 2023 car chase which ended with an officer-involved shooting after the suspect brandished a firearm.
Police are investigating the circumstances around the car chase and the investigation will determine what charges can be made against the 29-year-old suspect. The suspect was released from an Albuquerque hospital, but the GPD is not in a position to comment on his condition.
On Dec. 10, an officer from the GPD was dispatched to a residence on Gallup’s west side. The homeowner had requested assistance to have a man removed from the property. A GPD officer made contact with the suspect and began gathering information about the situation. Believing the suspect was intoxicated, the officer began making preparations for a breathalyzer test, at which point the suspect got into his vehicle to flee the scene.
As the suspect entered his vehicle to flee, the officer saw a handgun fall out of the suspect’s jacket, which he picked up before fleeing the scene in his vehicle. A vehicle pursuit followed, which ended at the 2600 block of Highway 66. The suspect exited his vehicle and again tried to flee. As the suspect ran, he was seen again brandishing the handgun. At that point, the officer shot the suspect and officers on scene began immediately rendering first aid to the suspect. There were no other injuries to police or bystanders.
The New Mexico State Police investigates all officer-involved shootings and Gallup police needed to wait for the state investigation to conclude before beginning their own criminal investigation into the matter. The NMSP report, released on Friday, makes no conclusion on the officer-involved shooting. However, Chief Erin Toadlena-Pablo stands by the officer’s decision and says the officer is back on duty.