Regional
1:31 pm
Sat April 2, 2011

Suspect Charged With Firing At Las Cruces Police

Las Cruces – Jonathan "Piazo" Garcia, the 20-year-old man who on Friday fired multiple shots at three Las Cruces Police officers following a traffic stop related to a home burglary investigation, was detained at approximately 2 a.m. today and now faces several charges.

No Las Cruces Police officers were injured during Friday's incident.

Thomas Brown, 16, the second suspect who fled from officers following Friday's traffic stop and shooting, was located and arrested Friday evening.

Garcia is charged with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, and one count each of burglary and conspiracy. Garcia is being held at the Dona Ana County Detention Center with bond set at $120,000.

Brown and Pedro Alvarez, 25, the original driver of the white pickup used during the burglary, are both charged with one count each of burglary and conspiracy. Alvarez is being held on $10,000 bond and Brown, a juvenile, is incarcerated without bond.

Las Cruces Police detectives learned that at around noon on Friday, April 1, Garcia, Brown and Alvarez collaborated to burglarize a home on the 900 block of east Mountain Street. Alvarez drove the three to the home while Garcia and Brown entered the residence and took several items including television sets, electronic game consoles and jewelry.

An alert neighbor noticed the burglary in progress and, along with two other neighbors, confronted Garcia and Brown. Garcia then produced a handgun, forced the three men into a residence and threatened to kill them if they called police.

Garcia and Brown then left the residence in the pickup driven by Alvarez. Police learned of the interrupted home burglary and began looking for the three suspects in the pickup. Shortly before 12:30 p.m. Friday a Las Cruces Police officer spotted the pickup on Calle Sosa and, knowing the suspects may be armed with a handgun, called for backup.

Two additional LCPD officers arrived and police ordered Alvarez, the driver, out of the pickup. While Alvarez complied with officers, Garcia jumped into the driver's seat and fired several gunshots at the officers as he drove off. Garcia travelled only about a block north on Calle Sosa before he and Brown abandoned the pickup and fled from the area on foot.

Alvarez was taken into custody following the traffic stop. Las Cruces Police - with assistance from the Border Patrol, U.S. Customs, New Mexico State Police, the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI - conducted an extensive search for Garcia and Brown that lasted the remainder of the day.

Brown was located and arrested Friday evening in a northeast Las Cruces neighborhood. LCPD's SWAT team apprehended Garcia at approximately 2 a.m. Saturday as he attempted to hide in a residence on the 400 block of Fir Avenue.

Determining the whereabouts of Garcia was a collaborative effort between officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service.