Man shot during chase could face homicide charge
Victim in aggravated battery case died in hospital
- Division 2 of the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office is preparing homicide charges against Ryan Westman.
- McKinley County District Judge Lyndy Bennett signed an order on Dec. 18 that released Westman from custody.
- Westman faces 10 new charges, including seven felony charges from Thursday's arrest.
FARMINGTON — A man shot by law enforcement officials Thursday night in Farmington could face a homicide charge after the victim he is accused of battering died.
Ryan Westman, 25, originally was charged in Gallup Magistrate Court on Jan. 22 with four charges, including third-degree felony counts of aggravated battery and assault with intent to commit a violent felony along with a fourth-degree felony count of aggravated assault, according to the criminal complaint.
Cosme Ripol, a prosecutor for Division 2 of the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office in McKinley County, told The Daily Times the victim in the aggravated battery case, Mitchell Chavez, died at a hospital in Flagstaff, Arizona.
He added the DA's Office is preparing homicide charges against Westman.
McKinley County District Judge Lyndy Bennett signed an order on Dec. 18 that released Westman from custody, according to a copy of the order.
The order was tied to a case in McKinley County District Court in which Westman was accused of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the criminal complaint.
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the arrest of Westman on the aggravated burglary charge Thursday night as he is accused of fleeing police in McKinley County and San Juan County as he traveled along U.S. Highway 491 to Shiprock and east on U.S. Highway 64 to Farmington.
He is accused of 10 charges filed on Friday in Gallup Magistrate Court, including seven felonies from his recent arrest.
Those charges including three second-degree felony counts of assault with intent to commit a violent felony on a peace officer, three third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer and a fourth-degree of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, according to court records.
Westman was spotted Thursday night by officers for the U.S. Marshals Service South West Investigative Fugitive Team (SWIFT) Task Force, and authorities fired shots at him as he attempted to flee from the Valero gas station at 4913 E. Main St. in Farmington.
A San Juan County Sheriff's Office press release stated officers and civilians were in danger as Westman attempted to flee.
The suspect was shot during the incident, but he managed to flee the gas station in a vehicle. Officials have not said who shot him.
Westman later was taken into custody after a New Mexico State Police vehicle rammed Westman's vehicle north of the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and County Road 350.
He was transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment of what was described as a nonlife-threatening injury, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office.
Westman was treated and released, then booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center around 1:38 a.m. Friday.
Some of the other charges Westman is accused of include a misdemeanor count of reckless driving (second or subsequent offense) and petty misdemeanor counts of speeding (36 and over) and driving on the wrong side of roadway, according to court records.
The McKinley County District Attorney's Office filed a motion Friday to revoke Westman's conditions of release and take him into custody, according to the motion. The motion states Westman violated the conditions of his release when he failed to make contact with the pre- and post-trial compliance office on Dec. 18, and he also was charged in the Jan. 22 aggravated battery case.
Westman was incarcerated at the county jail this afternoon on a no-bond hold.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.