A two-hour SWAT operation prompted by gunshots in the Acequia Madre neighborhood downtown came to an end when Santa Fe police took a male suspect into custody late Tuesday afternoon.

The man, identified by police as Jason Elliott, 49, was arrested in Patrick Smith Park after fleeing a standoff at a home on Acequia Madre, not far from the intersection with Camino del Monte Sol.

Elliott had left the scene in a vehicle, and officers pursued him to the park, Deputy Chief Paul Joye said.

Police charged Elliott with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of negligent use of a weapon and two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer after officers reported he fired a shotgun near them while they were outside investigating the scene, Joye said.

“Nobody got hurt on any side of it, and I’m always happy about that,” Joye said of the tense standoff.

A search of online court records does not reveal any previous criminal charges against Elliott.

The incident started shortly after 3 p.m. as police responded to a report of a gunshot in the vicinity. According to a news release issued by the Santa Fe Police Department, the shooting took place “after a verbal altercation in a parking lot,” though the release does not say where.

Joye said the investigation is ongoing.

Jesse Kesler, who was working on a construction project at a nearby home, said he first saw a man near the house in question “screaming and acting very agitated” around that time.

He described the man as a white male. He said it was unclear why the man was screaming or with whom he was arguing.

Kesler and others in the area said they heard a single gunshot shortly thereafter. Kesler said it sounded like a shotgun.

“Then the police came,” he said.

Others who live in or were visiting the area described a string of police cars suddenly zooming around the streets, blocking off traffic lanes on Canyon Road, Camino del Monte Sol and Acequia Madre.

Several officers wore protective body gear and carried automatic rifles as they set up road barriers in the area.

Online Now
Celebrate the Class of 2020

Submit online graduate profiles to share with family and friends free.

Officers on the scene were urging people in the neighborhood to stay behind walls or take other cover in case “bullets start flying.”

Kesler said he heard at least one more gunshot during the standoff, but added he could not see anything because police asked him and his crew to take shelter in a nearby art gallery.

“They said, ‘Everyone get inside,’ ” he recalled.

At one point, police could be heard using a loudspeaker to talk to Elliott as they surrounded the house in the normally quiet neighborhood known for its art galleries and restaurants.

Shortly thereafter, police officers “used a flash-sounding diversionary device, which is not uncommon for this type of situation,” Joye said.

Elliott “was seen fleeing the scene in his vehicle,” and police caught up to him during a “high-risk traffic stop,” according to the news release.

The heavy police presence and sound of gunshots had people scurrying for cover at one point. Two owners of a nearby business, who declined to be identified, said a number of passersby suddenly came in to “seek shelter” during the threat.

Kathy Kennedy Beck of Tucson, Ariz., who was visiting Santa Fe, said she heard a single gunshot shortly after 3 p.m. in the direction of Camino del Monte Sol. Asked if she could determine whether it was a large- or small-caliber weapon, she said, “When you hear something like that, you don’t think anything except, ‘It was a loud shot.’ ”

Katie Hyde of Santa Fe, who had just visited the nearby Tea House restaurant with a friend, said she was surprised to suddenly walk upon a crime scene.

“Tons of police cars were passing by; I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” she said.

Yet at times the standoff quieted down so much that local residents who were just a block or so away, seemingly unaware of the situation, strolled the streets, put out garbage cans or stopped to chat with mail delivery drivers who came close to the cordoned-off areas before being turned away by police.

But the potential for danger remained. Acequia Madre resident Jane Smith wandered out of her house at one point to see if she could find out the truth about rumors she was hearing.

“It’s scary to think of a live shooter around here,” she said.

A police officer standing nearby told her it would “not be an intelligent decision” to go too far into the street, so she went back inside her home.

Show what you're thinking about this story

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
2
5
13
5

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

Recommended for you

(23) comments

Al Chavez

What protesters are talking about. We don't need a full-on machismo-driven response to a situation that more than likely needed a mental health professional. Look at the gear the cops were wearing. Let's use the money we're paying for a militarized police force for more appropriate response systems.

r pearson

I was there. This was handled extremely poorly. If this had been somebody that was just randomly shooting people, multiple people, he could’ve killed 30 people easily because within feet of police officers there were people standing out on the sidewalks gawking everywhere. None of the alleys were cordoned off. there were about 1000 ways to escape on foot and they never shut down traffic and the buses were running. The fact is this was a total fiasco and if the police don’t figure out how to handle something like this In the future and admit their mistakes a lot of people could die.

John Robertson

About your description of the Acequia Madre neighborhood: downtown?

Andrew Lucero

Thank goodness no one was hurt… I am normally very pro law enforcement. But I am with Lupe on this one. This was not a shining example of what a “successful” SWAT operation should ever look like. No one should have been able to penetrate a secured perimeter. (especially one that small). I would love to see the after-action review of this incident. There shouldn’t be any high fiving or back slapping on this one. This was a compete technical and tactical failure. If you are going to be dressed up, geared up, and act like soldiers, you darn well better be able to preform like them… If our fair City does in fact need a SAWT team, then they darn well better be trained properly. Other wise disband it.

Jason Flores

This is what’s wrong with society. You read an article and automatically assume something without knowing facts. The way I read it is just as it says. The man fled from the scene and officers pursued them. Some obvious questions should pop into your brain when reading this.

1.) Was the SWAT team there when the man fled?

Typically, because our city does not have a full time SWAT team when they are deployed it can take 30 minutes to an hour before they have arrived, geared up and surrounded the house. In this situation maybe it’s safe to assume this guy didn’t just wait around for SWAT to arrive then decide it was a fantastic idea to flee while guys with guns are standing at every corner of his house. Really?

2.) Who pursued the guy?

If it was a quick moving situation and there was not enough officers to surround the house safely until more police arrived maybe he fled then. But again the article does not clarify that. Right?

3.) Did anyone realize that a shot was potentially fired at someone and possibly at a officer or two and we are concerned about whether Santa Fe should have a SWAT team?

Wow, no comment!

BOB SCHWARTZ

of course that's what Jason flores of the sfpd would say

BOB SCHWARTZ

so the uniformed officer arrives on scene within minutes and gathers the intel, or either sits in his car and does nothing, and then relays this team to dispatch and then he calls the swat commander and relays this info, and keeps relaying info until SWAT gets there, so if the officers can take no action an we have to wait for SWAT for every scenio and wait for them to get dressed, and then briefed again and then formulate a plan and then rehearse and then get activated, then why bother. Also, the trouble with SFPD is that many of these live in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Espanola, ETC and and not on the same shift and have to be activated and then drive into SAnta Fe wasting all that time. A full time SWAT team is suggested which would mean when they are not on a SWAT call they would almost do nothing. The real issue is inefficiency of resources and management . Officers have AR 15 and protective vests and equipment which I gather is not enough and have to wait for the armored car and specially dressed SWAT, which may drive from Albuquerque and even further, if you can contact them right away.

Al Chavez

Jason reflects police culture. It's so full of itself that it can't see what the rest of us can see: they look at every situation like this as if they were going after the Taliban on the battlefield.

Stop. Just stop. You're home now and these are your neighbors. Try to help them not shoot them.

Lupe Molina

Lol. No comment? Look around, there are tons of comments. This thin blue line BS has to stop. The sequence of events is right there, bro! Cops arrived on the scene at around 3pm, perp wasn't apprehended until after 5pm. If it takes SWAT TWO FLIPPING HOURS to get all that gear on and secure a perimeter, then maybe they're just incompetent. And you have people on here all the time saying "we can't defund the police, if there are fewer cops on the street, who will respond quickly?" They already take hours to respond to a dangerous person with a firearm! That night, the SWAT team let one violent perp escape their perimeter. Later on, they started an operation in an apartment complex where they never announced their presence and the perp wasn't even in the building. Operational failures across the board.

Anthony Ortega

Thank you SFPD !! Stay safe !!

Khal Spencer

what the peanut gallery seems to have missed is that we got outa this without anyone shot.

Lupe Molina

That definitely is good news and the preferable outcome. But he was allowed to breach the perimeter which is a real tactical failure.

But also, you're the curator of the peanut gallery, Khal. So, you know, glass houses and all that.

Khal Spencer

You got me there, Lupe. But with all the criticisms of the P.D. if they had shot the guy as he breached the perimeter, they would have been crucified. D*mned if you do, d*amned if you don't.

Meanwhile, there is now a SWAT standoff over here near De Vargas Plaza. Whatta world.

Lupe Molina

No! Really? Stay safe Khal. Hope it gets resolved without anyone hurt.

Khal Spencer

Seems to have quieted down. Not sure what it was all about. I was putting my lighting system back on my bicycle and test riding it. Ran into more cop cars than I ever thought existed in this city!

Al Chavez

The "peanut gallery" knows how this situation could have ended very badly. Too many like it DO end badly.

Lupe Molina

All that gear and all that money and they let this guy out of their perimeter to RUN TO A PUBLIC PARK. What's the point of a SWAT team that can't secure the perimeter of a small building?!

kyle renfro

in armored vehicles dressed like warriors-soldiers, not cops, to bad the rest of the PD doesn't get that much equipment, but being that padilla and valdez were former swat, that's were all the money goes surely not to the evidence room, maybe they could drive around and protect city property

Donald Christy

Kyle. Just curious why you never use your real name.

Mark Ortiz

Because the SFNM is allowing it.

Andrew Lucero

Things in this City are starting to get very much out of hand...

Anya Marie

A social worker could have handled this! Yeah right...

Al Chavez

No, I don't think so. This kind of stuff has been going on while we weren't looking. A bright light is being focussed on what our militarized police have been doing. They've taken a dark turn too often and now it's being corrected.

I call these stories "grain elevator stories." Back in the 60s there was a sudden spurt of grain elevators exploding. A few stories and then one after another. Turned out grain elevators all over the country exploded regularly but the press didn't cover them. Then they started covering them and all of a sudden there were dozens.

Police misconduct is like that. The story has been the same for a long time. We're just noticing it much more--thankfully in this case.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.