Update: OIS Involving State Police in Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa, NM – On Monday, March 29, 2021, at around 9:00 a.m. a New Mexico State Police officer was involved in an Officer Involved Shooting as New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau agents were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Robert Lee Chavez, 47, of Santa Rosa.
Chavez is the suspect in a case being investigated by State Police Investigations Bureau agents in which a John Deere compact tractor was stolen. During the initial stages of the investigation in February of 2021, State Police agents served a search warrant at Chavez’s residence and located a firearm inside. Chavez was subsequently charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He was released on bond. State Police agents completed their investigation on Chavez for the stolen tractor and an arrest warrant was issued for the charges of Receiving Stolen Property (2nd-degree Felony), Extortion, and Bribery of a Witness (3rd Degree Felony).
Due to Chavez’s extensive violent criminal history that included Aggravated Assault Against a Police Officer, Battery, Escape from Custody, Felon in Possession of Firearm, Criminal Damage to Property, and Tampering with evidence the New Mexico State Police Tactical Team was called to assist with serving the arrest warrant on Chavez. Before attempting to serve the arrest warrant State Police agents made contact with Chavez through his probation officer asking him to turn himself in, but Chavez refused.
As State Police officers approached the residence, Chavez was observed inside the residence. Officers told Chavez they had a warrant for his arrest. When they asked him to come out of the house and surrender, he refused and began throwing explosive devices outside the residence at the officers. Chavez threw three explosive devices at officers. The first two landed about ten feet from officers and exploded. The third hit the windshield of a vehicle in Chavez’s front yard. Chavez came out of a room in the residence holding a fourth explosive device in his hand. At this point in the encounter, New Mexico State Police Tactical Team Officer Jake Maggard, fearing the explosive device Chavez was about to throw would kill or injure himself or other officers, fired two rounds from his department-issued rifle.
Chavez was struck by the officer’s gunfire, and the device he was holding exploded inside the residence. Chavez then ran out the back door of his residence and into an adjacent house located at 437 Route 66 and barricaded himself in that residence. Commands were given to Chavez to exit the residence. Chavez subsequently exited and was taken into custody. State Police officers rendered aid to Chavez until medical personnel arrived.
The explosive device Chavez set off in his house ignited a fire. The local fire department respond to the scene and contained the fire. Chavez was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Upon his release from the hospital, Chavez will be booked on his outstanding arrest warrant.
New Mexico State Police Officer Jake Maggard has been with State Police for 8 years and has been assigned to the New Mexico State Police full-time Tactical Team for 6 years. This case is under investigation by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. Upon completion, it will be given to the appropriate district attorney’s office for review.