The New Mexican

Detectives will talk to store managers as they determine possible charges for a man accused of robbing a Starbucks and leading law enforcement on a 50-mile chase Friday, Santa Fe police Chief Andrew Padilla said.

Any charges likely would be filed in the middle to end of the coming week, Padilla said in an interview Saturday. He said he didn’t know how much money was taken or the identities of the two suspects.

One of the suspects was shot and killed after she fired at pursuing law enforcement officers, including a Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy, according to New Mexico State Police. The other, who had been driving, was flown by helicopter to an unidentified trauma center for treatment of gunshot wounds.

Also according to state police:

A Torrance County sheriff’s deputy and a New Mexico State Police officer also fired at the vehicle after the woman fired multiple shots at them. No officers or deputies were hurt.

The chase began after the pair robbed Starbucks on St. Francis Drive at gunpoint; it reached high speeds on a long, open stretch of U.S. 285 southbound that passes by Lamy but didn’t reach a town or large intersection until Clines Corners, 50 miles south of Santa Fe and 60 miles east of Albuquerque.

The suspects’ vehicle left the road and crashed into a tree about two miles south of Clines Corners. State police and Torrance County Sheriff’s Office deputies had joined the pursuit near Clines Corners.

The driver eventually crawled out of the vehicle and was taken into custody. The woman with him was found dead in the vehicle. The Office of the Medical Investigator will determine her cause and manner of death, as well as her identification.

A 27-mile stretch of U.S. 285 from Interstate 40 to U.S. 60 at Encino was temporarily closed.

Also according to state police:

New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau agents are investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Investigators learned state police were alerted around 2:30 p.m. that a vehicle was fleeing Santa Fe after the reported armed robbery a short time earlier. The suspects’ vehicle was described as a black Kia passenger car with no license plate.

Shortly after the information was given over police radio, a state police officer saw the vehicle headed north on Cerrillos Road near Jaguar Drive and notified dispatchers. Moments later, a Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle headed south on Richards Avenue and began a chase that led north on Interstate 25, then south on U.S. 285.

The shooting was one of two Friday involving New Mexico law enforcement, prompting investigations, according to the Associated Press. In the other, at least one deputy fired at a man after deputies found a vehicle reportedly involved in a hit-and-run crash, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department said.

(22) comments

Miranda Viscoli

And, if there hadn't been a gun....

Mike Johnson

Then it wouldn't have worked, what are you gonna threaten the teenagers who are at the cash register with? Some nasty words? Criminals need guns. But if they weren't available, they would use something else. Criminals are the problem, NOT guns.

Khal Spencer

And, if there hadn't been two people too lazy to work and instead think they could prey on local small businesses as stickup artists...

Mike Johnson

I suspect Ms. Viscoli might like the latest California trend of unarmed mass mobs doing smash and grab, no thief gets hurt and the thieves don't get caught, so everyone is happy, right?

Paul LeSage

It is always nice to see another nice young couple own and carry firearms "to protect their family." What a country!

Lyndell Vallner

Until thugs realize that there are consequences for their actions...and if the police were to ignore them, the robberies, murders and looting will continue...and continue to get worse and happen more often. We have seen that happen in cities and now suburbs over the last 2 years. No one wants to live in a lawless country. The National, State and local government's most important function is to protect it's citizens.

Chris Mechels

It appears that the police violated their Pursuit policy and their Use of Force policy, but this is common for them. Policies exist to be ignored. Which is why the NMSP should not investigate this case.

Richard Irell


What part of this did they ignore?

An officer may initiate a high speed pursuit to apprehend a suspect who the officer has reasonable grounds to believe poses a clear and immediate threat of death or serious injury to others or who the officer has probable cause to believe poses a clear and immediate threat to the safety of others that is ongoing and that existed prior to the high speed pursuit. An officer shall also consider if to initiate a pursuit when, in the officer’s opinion, an individual clearly exhibits intent to avoid arrest by using a motor vehicle to actively flee.

Arthur Ficke

Thank you Mr.Irell

Khal Spencer

More details on the state high speed pursuit statute below. Methinks armed robbery fits the bill as far as a clear and immediate threat. Next one could have involved a shooting. Especially since these brazen lovelies showed they were even willing to shoot it out with the cops.

New Mexico Statutes Chapter 29. Law Enforcement § 29-20-4. Pursuit policies

C. The written policy shall, at a minimum, require that:

(1) a law enforcement officer may initiate a high speed pursuit to apprehend a suspect who the officer has reasonable grounds to believe poses a clear and immediate threat of death or serious injury to others or who the officer has probable cause to believe poses a clear and immediate threat to the safety of others that is ongoing and that existed prior to the high speed pursuit;

(2) a law enforcement officer shall not initiate or continue a high speed pursuit when the immediate danger to the officer and the public created by the high speed pursuit exceeds the immediate danger to the public if the occupants of the motor vehicle being pursued remain at large;

(3) when deciding whether to initiate or continue a high speed pursuit, the following factors, at a minimum, shall be taken into consideration:

(a) the seriousness of the offense for which the high speed pursuit was initiated;

(b) whether a suspect poses a clear and immediate threat of death or serious injury to others;

(c) road, weather, environmental and vehicle conditions;

(d) the amount of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic;  and

(e) knowledge of the suspect's identity, possible destination and previous activities that may make apprehension at a later time feasible;  and

(4) no more than two law enforcement vehicles shall become actively involved in a high speed pursuit, unless specifically authorized by a supervisor.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup] Interesting no mention of the use of snipers to take them down. That could be very effective in cases like this.

Khal Spencer

Sure, Mike. For that matter, one could only wish there were a few A-10's kicking around in the New Mexico National Guard inventory, eh?

Mike Johnson

Right Khal, and some Predator Drones.....we need some of those too.

Khal Spencer

Hey, I was serious.

David Gunter

Richard, have you not heard of Chris Mechels, one of our resident trolls before?

Thugs could break into his home, shoot him dead just before the police return fire in an attempt to protect him, and his ghost would still be spewing anti-police rhetoric ad nauseam.

Red Eagle

Wow, do you suggest the police just let an armed felon flee the scene to be able to commit another crime. Do they just wait until these people kill an innocent person before acting?

Khal Spencer

I've read in this paper where the P.D. has called off a pursuit due to the danger the pursuit itself risks to the public and to the officer. As always, "it depends".

Francisco Carbajal

Chris Mechels, it appears that you do not care to understand on who, what, where, when, and how a Pursuit policy and the Use of Force policy actually works for a local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agency in New Mexico or elsewhere in the United States. In addition, maybe you should consider to go back to college and registered into a Criminal Justice course and learn on how the basic criminal justice system operates from an academic perspective. Other than attending a law enforcement academy program at your age is out of the question. Your age and poor physical abilities for qualification as a certified law enforcement officer in New Mexico is definitely a RED FLAG.

Michael Grimler

Francisco, it does no good whatsoever to point out the shortcomings of Mr. Mechels' demented ranting. He's been doing it for years and it reached the "tiresome" stage long ago.

Murray Wolinsky

I'm saddened by the death of the woman, and would like to know more about the circumstances of the crime. However, the facts as reported do not indicate any inappropriate action by the police. They were justified in both their pursuit and their use of force. There is nothing in the report that states that the public-at-large was endangered by their actions. To the contrary: we are safer because of what they did. Why do you think otherwise?

Richard Reinders

Male or female shoots at police they get what they get. I agree you feel more compassion to a female than a male , but they are equally deadly with a gun.

Emily Koyama

Mr Mechels, "It appears" that you don't know what you're talking about.

Occasionally, (not often), you make valid, reasonable comments about about police training and transparency issues....and then you destroy your credibility with comments like this, so that's why nobody takes you seriously.

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