Santa Fe police say a two-hour SWAT operation in a downtown neighborhood Tuesday afternoon began after 49-year-old Jason Elliott got into a confrontation with a man parked in handicapped-accessible spot at a gallery near his home.

According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, Elliott had confronted the man outside Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers on Camino del Monte Sol, just off Canyon Road.

He then went into his nearby apartment and grabbed a shotgun, the complaint says.

He is accused of firing a single round into the air, which hit a tree and caused branches to fall close to where the man was standing, police say in the document.

Elliott has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and negligent use of a weapon, as well as one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Residents and visitors in the area said police swarmed in after the shot was fired around 3 p.m., including SWAT officers in protective gear who were carrying automatic rifles.

Police set up road barriers and urged people in the neighborhood to take cover while officers tried to persuade Elliott to come out of his home on Acequia Madre, not far from the intersection with Camino del Monte Sol.

The criminal complaint says Officer Daniel Lopez and Sgt. James Plummer, who were stationed near the vehicle outside the gallery, heard a shot fired during the operation and took cover.

The officers then saw Elliott flee in an SUV, the complaint says.

Another officer saw the vehicle turn onto Canyon Road and then onto Palace Avenue, according to the complaint.

Elliott was arrested at Patrick Smith Park.

While he initially denied he had fired a weapon, the criminal complaint says, Elliott eventually confessed to shooting two rounds in the air.

Santa Fe County Magistrate David Segura set interim conditions for Elliott’s release from jail, but the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion for a 24-hour continuance. This gives the office more time to investigate whether it will file a motion seeking to keep Elliott incarcerated without bond until his trial.

Elliott was scheduled to appear Thursday in Magistrate Court.

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(6) comments

Keyla Mostacero

This whole ordeal has left me with plenty of questions as to how cops act during this kind of circumstances. I share a wall with this individual (who by the way, has lived over a decade in the neighborhood and never did I feel threatened by him) and I am confused and upset by how the cops and SWAT team handled the situation. First of all, it was a 2 hrs 30min horrifying event and while it is scary to think of a man with a gun (possibly mentally incapacitated at the moment), what terrified me were the heavily armed men who at no moment cared to knock on my door to inform me of their plan to bring a SWAT team to detonate the door of the suspect’s home when they did that service for my other neighbor who lives next to me. The most upsetting part, is having learned that the individual had been apprehended by the cops. This information was released by the cops themselves to one of neighbors. So I ask: if he was already in custody, why did I have to go through excruciating fear? I scrambled through my unit not knowing where to hide. I was painfully aware that the smallest move made by anyone inside that apartment could trigger multiple gunshots made by either party and my roommate’s life and mine would not have matter! They did not have an ambulance on sight! What’s the plan of these men? To protect us? I DID NOT FEEL PROTECTED. They didn’t even have the decency to make contact with me! No ability to have a human connection. And I really doubt that the cops wouldn’t have shared the information of having the individual in custody and not have alerted the SWAT TEAM! My two neighbors and I have an entire timeline of how the event took place, the shots, arrival of cops (who disclosed the location of the accused) and the UNNECESSARY arrival of the SWAT team. As citizens we should really be bothered to question the cops and their tactics. It’s our duty to see beyond the “imminent” threat, we should hold them accountable for their procedures. When this all began, I saw two armed men who I could not identify as cops behind my backyard—merely 30 feet away from me! One neighbor went to check her mail trying to see what was happening, no cop cars! A child could have easily wandered around into that parking lot and none of us would’ve known better! They failed to informed us in a timely manner and to identify themselves. I know these are difficult times but we shouldn’t just say THANK YOU and go on with our lives. This extreme force by the SWAT wasn’t justified!

Amanda Chavez

Thanks sharing!

Jeff Clark

Have all his guns been removed?

Amanda Chavez

Now Thur after the incident on Tue; non if the at home neighbors have been questioned. And witnesses can account that there was no police present after the 2nd presumed gunshot round. There was no need to blow down the suspects door. Esp if suspect was already in custody. Now lets see if a true investigation is done.

Dan Secrist

And the handicap parking scofflaw? Was he even cited?

Leo Catelli

It looks like the police had more important matters to attend to.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone was parking in a handicap spot that wasn’t supposed to be, that’s really self absorbed and rude. But, comparatively, to a potential shooting spree, pretty trivial.

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