Associated Press

A pair of shootouts between a person and law enforcement officers left the gunman dead and two sheriff’s deputies injured, prompting the head of the New Mexico State Police to say he is “beyond disgusted” by recent violence in the state.

State Police Chief Tim Johnson said Friday he hopes state legislators act during their 2022 annual session to combat violent crime.

“I hope I’m invited. I have some things to say about that — hopefully get some things fixed — but again just beyond disgusted with what we’ve been seeing across the state for the last four, five months, maybe longer,” Johnson told reporters during a briefing on the shootouts Friday in Valencia County.

The violence followed a recent shooting that left four Albuquerque police officers injured — one critically — during a gunfight with an armed robbery suspect.

In Friday’s incident, state police said one deputy was shot and wounded in an initial encounter with the shooter — 28-year-old Jose Angel Baca — and another person in a rural area west of Los Lunas.

A second deputy suffered shrapnel injuries during a subsequent shootout with Baca following a vehicle chase that went through Los Lunas and ended in a crash, state police said.

At least two sheriff’s deputies and a state police officer were involved in the second shootout and it wasn’t immediately known whose shot killed Baca, state police said.

A woman who was with Baca ran but was taken into custody, state police said.

The two deputies’ injuries were not life-threatening, state police said.

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(6) comments

Khal Spencer

"judicial retention elections", not reconfirmation elections.

Khal Spencer

In a state with low educational standards, a heaping dose of drug and alcohol addiction, poorly paying jobs, and a history of oppression of various people by other people, it should come as no surprise that we have a crime problem. So in addition to reforming our revolving-door criminal justice system and voting out some soft-headed judges at the next confirmation elections, we need to fix what is broken.

I undoubtedly teed off a lot of people on twitter the other day when I asked how a community can have families which know a sixteen year old is packing heat every day and not do anything about it. So the kid gets into a shootout at school. No surprise, as sixteen year olds generally have their heat source way ahead of their light source.

So if our esteemed legislature would aim some of its political ammo at both the causes of this crime wave as well as dealing more effectively with the criminals, I'll open a beer to them. But let's see what is in the package. My guess it will be a motley collection of retread bills of limited usefulness, but I hope to be wrong.

One suggestion? I like Sen. Sedillo-Lopez's safe storage bill. Maybe that can help keep some of these teen hotheads from shooting up their schools. But only if their parents and the general public take it seriously. A lot of crime guns are stolen. Guess why? They are left lying around for any idiot to steal.

Chris Mechels

We should be "beyond disgusted" with State Police. They have ruined NM police training, going back to 2003, and are blocking all attempts at reform. They also "investigate" most police crime in our state, and clear the cops.

Part of the problem is the the Chief of the NMSP, is, by statute, drawn from the ranks, which means that an outside reformer can't be appointed as Chief. The corruption is locked in.

Needed, for the Legislature to act. The NMSP dominates the police culture in our state, in both police training and investigation of police crimes. Time to break up the cabal, though this will not be easy. I also suggest removing the NMSP from the Governor's office and the Roundhouse, as this gives them too much influence.

That said; NMSP Chief Johnson does look good in the uniform. Now if only he would abide by our laws... but that seems to be asking too much.

Barry Rabkin

I remain disgusted with any person who kills a cop, shoots at a cop, pushes a cop, or hits a cop. My disgust is as high for people who want to defund the police. The US is governed by our US Constitution and its canon of laws: the police are essential to ensure that people who break the law(s) are apprehended and brought to judgement, regardless of the perpetrator’s ethnicity, income, or reason for committing the crime.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Johnson, and many other should be disgusted.

Still, as an elderly Pentecostal preacher advised me many years ago: "Prince, when you tell The Truth, son, you gotta tell it all."

Now, the question begs: Is Johnson and others disgusted with decades of needless officers involved shootings and excessive use-of-force? Is he upset that 13-year-old, unarmed boys are executed? Or, that U.S. Veterans are beaten to death while in custody?

Yet, now police wonder why people are -rightfully- reacting violently and even, firing back at them?

As I've taught for years: There's Good Cops and there's Bad Cops, but, they all have guns. Truth be told? Personally speaking, after a lifetime of Racial Profiling, harassment and worse, I'll err on the side of caution - criminals with guns and badges, notice is served.

Joseph Tafoya

It's time to revoke the “no bail” amendment that was promoted to the voter as a fairness amendment. Turning criminals loose to continue their life of crime without consequence is insane. Many liberals and liberal politicians believe that taking away or limiting my second amendment rights is going to end senseless violence. Wrong! Criminals do not care about our laws that is why they are lawbreakers. To them, our laws are a minor inconvenience. Until they are put down!

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