San Juan County Sheriff’s Office deputies talk on Wednesday with Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy, right, at Butler Avenue and 20th Street in
San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies talk on Wednesday with Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy, right, at Butler Avenue and 20th Street in Farmington, where a man was killed after leading police on a car chase. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON A Farmington man was killed on Wednesday afternoon after leading police on a car chase minutes earlier.

Police fired shots at the man after he crashed his truck into a Farmington patrol car on 20th Street and Butler Avenue, said Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy.

John Robert Marszalek II, 26, was killed as officers tried to pull him out of his truck, Tracy said. He said Marszalek was injuring himself inside the vehicle. Police at the scene said over their radios that Marszalek was stabbing himself.

"An attempt was made to get the subject out of the vehicle. The subject was injured. He was committing self-injury upon contact," Tracy said.

Marszalek was taken to the San Juan Regional Medical Center and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Tracy said it wasn't yet clear if Marszalek died because of self-inflicted injuries or from the police shooting.

Tracy declined to share more details about the moments leading up to the shooting.

No officers were injured during Wednesday's chase and shooting.

Marszalek, who was driving a blue Dodge truck, led police on a chase for about 20 minutes before crashing into a police car at about 2:20 p.m. at 20th Street and Butler.

Although Farmington police are investigating the incident, multiple law enforcement agencies were involved both in the chase and the suspect's arrest, Tracy said. He declined to name the agency for which the officer worked.

"Farmington police, sheriff's office, state police, federal agencies — we had multiple agencies involved," Tracy said.

A witness said she saw a police officer in street clothes shoot the driver of the blue truck twice.

Carlene Deal-Smith was sitting in her car at the Walgreen's parking lot when she heard sirens. She said she saw the truck crash into a Farmington police car. Then, police swarmed the car and spent about a minute trying to get a man out of the vehicle, she recalled.

Farmington police on Wednesday afternoon investigate the scene of a crash near Butler Avenue and 20th Street in Farmington.
Farmington police on Wednesday afternoon investigate the scene of a crash near Butler Avenue and 20th Street in Farmington. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

She said she saw an officer in street clothes reach through the truck's rear driver's side window and fire two shots.

"About a minute later, they pulled him out and started CPR," said Deal-Smith of the suspect.

At about 2 p.m., police saw Marszalek driving over the speed limit near 3500 East Main Street and suspected he was a drunken driver, Tracy said.

Police pursued him, but the chase was called off several times because of heavy traffic.

At one point, Marszlalek hit a car on East Main Street driven by an officer in street clothes, Tracy said. Tracy did not know if other cars or property were damaged during the chase.

Marszalek then drove northeast toward Flora Vista before turning around and driving back to Farmington, police said. He was heading east on 20th Street near Butler Avenue when his truck "rammed a Farmington police vehicle. And it was continuing to peel its tires and tried to move the vehicle, and it was pinned in by another law enforcement vehicle," Tracy said.

Although the investigation crosses multiple jurisdictions, Farmington police Chief Steve Hebbe said that won't cause problems. He said law enforcement will gather facts and interview witnesses and release more information in the coming days.

"It's a tragedy for the family of the man who was killed. It's a tragedy for the officers who were involved," he said. "I'm pleased no officers were hurt, and my thoughts go out to the family of the deceased."

Farmington police Sgt. Dave Monfils redirects traffic on Wednesday on Butler Avenue and 20th Street in Farmington. Police fired shots at the man after he
Farmington police Sgt. Dave Monfils redirects traffic on Wednesday on Butler Avenue and 20th Street in Farmington. Police fired shots at the man after he crashed his truck at the intersection, but it's not clear if that or self-inflicted injuries led to the man's death. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

Wednesday's shooting was the first officer-involved shooting in San Juan County in nearly a year. On March 22, Farmington police shot and injured Michael Chavez.

There were two fatal officer-involved shootings in the first two months of 2013.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident and the events leading up to it to contact Farmington police detectives at 505-599-1005.

Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and rboetel@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.