PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police identify suspect in DWI, officer involved shooting

Farmington, NM – On Sunday, September 6 at approximately 8:49 p.m. a citizen called 911 to report a white pickup truck had smashed through the gates of a business located at 3720 Herrera Rd. The witness reported seeing sparks flying and the vehicle dragging the gates more than 40 feet before fleeing at high speed on Herrera Road towards Main Street. The vehicle sustained extreme front end damage from crashing through the gates including a shattered windshield, bent hood and crushed radiator.

At about 8:50 p.m., three other witnesses called 911 to report the white truck had entered Main Street and was heading westbound in eastbound lanes of traffic. The truck was traveling at a high rate of speed with no headlights. One witness described the vehicle as having the hood bent so far up, the driver had to put his head out of the window in order to see. This same witness was also forced to swerve to avoid being hit head-on by the vehicle as it continued to drive in the wrong direction.

The witness turned around to follow the vehicle and saw it pull into the Shell gas station located at 3341 E. Main Street at about 8:51 p.m. Several witnesses then observed the suspect attempt to take an SUV, spraying the owner with gasoline before entering the vehicle in the drivers seat. The suspect then exited the SUV when he found it was occupied by the owners family.

Multiple witnesses called to report the suspect getting back in the stolen truck at 8:52 p.m. Several witnesses saw the suspect drive eastbound on Main Street then suddenly cut across all lanes of traffic to enter the Safeway parking lot. At approximately 8:53 p.m. another witness saw the suspect exit the Eye Mart parking lot located at 3450 E. Main St, shearing off a fire hydrant as it careened through the lot.

The suspect then began driving eastbound on Main Street in the westbound lanes of traffic at a high rate of speed. The witness described the suspect scattering vehicles ahead of him as they swerved to avoid a head-on collision. At about 8:54 p.m. the suspect turned into the Home Depot parking lot at Herrera and Main Street after forcing several vehicles off the road.

A witness reported having to swerve hard to avoid a head-on collision with the suspect. This same witness saw the suspect jump the curb out of the IHOP/Panda Express parking lot then drive over the grass and turn back onto Main Street. The witness saw the vehicle again turn and drive into opposing traffic and heading eastbound at a high rate of speed.

Some of the initial witnesses were still following the suspect and reporting his location as officers were being dispatched to intercept the suspect. At 8:55 p.m., less than six minutes after the first call, officers intercepted the vehicle on East Main near Hi-Country Kia located at 4004 E. Main St.

The suspect, who has been identified as Heriberto Nava-Martinez, was arrested on suspicion of DWI, theft of a vehicle and numerous traffic offenses. At 9:15 p.m. he was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of injuries sustained during the theft of the vehicle and for a blood draw pursuant to the DWI investigation. After Officer David Rock completed the DWI investigation, medical personnel moved the subject to another part of the hospital to continue their evaluation. At this time, the suspect launched an unprovoked attack on the officer and a violent struggle ensued. During the struggle, the officer shot the suspect. Per FPD policy, State Police were immediately contacted to assume the investigation of the incident at the hospital and the officer was placed on administrative leave. The suspect is being treated at SJRMC. Charges against Nava-Martinez will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Farmington Police Department would like to thank the citizens of Farmington, who came forward as witnesses in this case. It is because of the multiple reports from our outstanding community members, that we were able to apprehend the suspect before he caused harm to other drivers on the road.