Las Cruces Police arrested a man suspected of threatening his wife and children with a handgun, and shooting the family’s dog during a domestic dispute Wednesday evening.
Carmelo Diaz Jr., 44, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a family member, two counts of battery against a family member and one count of extreme cruelty to an animal.
At around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the family’s residence on the 2500 block of Kentwood Court in the far northeast portion of Sonoma Ranch. Officers learned that Diaz’s wife and two children had sought safety at a neighbor’s residence.
Detectives learned that an argument between Diaz and his wife became physical when Diaz placed his hands on his wife’s neck and pinned her against a wall. Diaz then threatened to take his own life and ran to an upstairs bedroom where he armed himself with a .40 caliber handgun.
The argument continued and Diaz’s wife ran to the children’s room. Diaz entered the room, pointed the handgun at his wife and at his teenage son and threatened to take their lives.
When Diaz walked out of the bedroom, his wife and children ran to a neighbor’s home and called police. Diaz went to the neighbor’s home a short time later and pleaded for his wife to tell dispatch that everything was OK.
As Diaz walked back to his home, he is believed to have fired one round at the family’s dog. Diaz then drove away from the home before officers arrived.
A short time later officers located Diaz’s car parked on White Sage Arc. As police continued to search for Diaz, an officer back at the family’s home spotted the suspect hiding in the shadows. Officers ordered him to drop the handgun which he did before being taken into custody.
The family’s dog was transported to an emergency veterinary clinic where it was determined to be paralyzed as a result of the gunshot. The dog, a mixed breed, was humanely euthanized.
Diaz was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center and is being held without bond.