FARMINGTON — The man shot by Farmington police Friday afternoon had active warrants for his arrest based on claims he stole jewelry, electronics and sentimental items from the clients of his landscaping business.
Michael Chavez, 41, was shot in the foot and the elbow Friday afternoon as he fled from police during a traffic stop.
He was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center by ambulance and was in fair condition on Monday, hospital spokeswoman Kathryn Pettijohn said.
Chavez could not be reached for comment.
New Mexico State Police, the agency investigating the shooting, declined to identify the officers involved, but they were named in an affidavit related to a search warrant for Chavez's vehicle, which was filed in Farmington Magistrate Court on Monday.
At about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Farmington police officer Chris Blea stopped Chavez on Cherry Lane just north of 16th Street. Chavez immediately ran from his green Dodge Dakota pickup truck and Blea chased him on foot, according to the affidavit.
As Chavez ran near businesses in Schofield Plaza, which is near Schofield Lane and 15th Street, Chavez allegedly pulled a cell phone from his pocket.
The cell phone may have appeared to be a gun, according to the affidavit.
"Mr. Chavez reached in his waist band in an aggressive manner to retrieve a cell phone," Agent Max Salas, of New Mexico State Police, said in the affidavit. "Chavez pointed the cell phone toward Officer Blea displaying it to act as a weapon."
Blea fired his gun at Chavez.
At the same time, Farmington police Sgt. Dave Monfils approached the scene from the east on 15th Street. State police said Monfils also fired shots.
Chavez was hit twice. A bullet also ended up inside Photo Synthesis, a nearby business, and three bullets ended up in a mini van in the parking lot, according to the affidavit.
"We believe (the bullets) were from police but we are waiting for the science to confirm that," said New Mexico State Police Lt.
Tom Weaver, the owner of Photo Synthesis, also owned the van that was hit.
The bullet that went through his business came within feet of him, he said.
"I was in Vietnam so I've had them come much closer," Weaver said. "I will not fault the police whatsoever. They acted in a professional manner and they were pursuing a bad guy. We have some good police."
Weaver said he saw Chavez run into the shopping center and it appeared like he was looking to enter a business.
Weaver said he was armed with a pistol inside his photography business and was prepared to protect his granddaughter, who was in the building at the time of the incident.
"The police probably kept him from coming in my store," he said. "That would have been bad for (Chavez) because I had pulled my pistol."
Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy said both officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting but declined to provide other details.
Police confiscated a baton, several expended shell casings, one live nine millimeter round and one nine millimeter magazine with bullets in it from the scene of the shooting, according to the affidavit.
Johnson said police also took the two guns Farmington police officers fired.
A passenger in Chavez's truck fled the scene after Chavez ran from the car.
The vehicle was found at Lorenza Jacquez's home on Ouray Street in south Farmington.
Jacquez and Chavez are in a relationship, according to court documents.
Chavez hasn't been charged with a crime related to Friday's incident.
Farmington police and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office had active warrants for Chavez's arrest.
The sheriff's office was trying to arrest Chavez for his suspected involvement in a residential burglary in Aztec.
Chavez allegedly broke into the Rome family home in late February. Chavez was likely attacked by Rome's pit bull named Patron and he didn't take any items, Brenda Rome told deputies, according to the affidavit for Chavez's arrest.
The Daily Times wrote a feature story about Patron shortly after the incident.
Farmington police believed Chavez was responsible for more than 10 residential burglaries that were reported in the last four months.
Chavez is the co-owner of Gypsy Rose Landscaping, according to the affidavit for his arrest.
Several of his former customers reported their homes were burglarized starting in early December. The customers reported jewelry was missing along with video games, movies, toys and, in one case, locks of a baby's hair from her first haircut, according to the affidavit.
Ryan Boetel may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel