PECOS – At About 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 30, New Mexico State Police (NMSP) Ofc. Ray Montoya was dispatched to a shoplifting call at the Dollar General in Pecos.
When Ofc. Montoya arrived, he encountered a male, later identified as Isaac Valencia, 39, of Espanola and two females walking out of the store. The store manager identified the trio as the suspected shoplifters.
As Ofc. Montoya began to speak with the suspects, Valencia tried to evade the officer and make his way to a black Fiat passenger car parked in front of the store. Ofc. Montoya attempted to detain Valencia who then pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Ofc. Montoya’s face.
Ofc. Montoya maintained physical control of Valencia as they began to wrestle for control of the handgun. During the struggle, Ofc. Montoya was able to talk Valencia into letting go of the handgun.
After letting go of the handgun, Valencia continued to resist Ofc. Montoya for a brief time longer but was eventually placed into handcuffs and taken into custody.
“This incident is another reminder of the dangers my officers encounter every day as they do their jobs. Many times, they do that job alone and far from backup. This ‘routine’ call turned into my officer’s fight for his life in a matter of seconds,” NMSP Chief Robert Thornton said. “I am very proud of Ofc. Montoya’s composure and professionalism during this violent encounter, and I’m happy he got to go home to his family.”
After Valencia’s arrest, officers found methamphetamine and fentanyl in his pants pockets. The black Fiat passenger car that Valencia was driving was determined to be stolen out of Santa Fe.
One of the females, Josephine Vigil, 31, of Santa Fe, was arrested and charged with shoplifting. The second female was not charged and will not be identified.
Valencia was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center and charged with:
- Receiving or transferring a Stolen Vehicle 3rd or Subsequent Offense (Second-Degree Felony);
- Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer with a Deadly Weapon (Third-Degree Felony);
- Possession of a Firearm by a Felon (Fourth-Degree Felony);
- Possession of Fentanyl (Fourth-Degree Felony);
- Possession of Methamphetamine (Fourth-Degree Felony); and
- Resisting, Evading or Obstructing an Officer (Misdemeanor).
Vigil was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center and charged with:
- Shoplifting (Misdemeanor).
This investigation is being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau.