Suspect arrested after manhunt following Flora Vista shooting that critically injured man

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – Police on Saturday arrested a 30-year-old man with a long rap sheet in connection with the shooting of another man the day before in Flora Vista.

Andrew Whittenberg was arrested Aug. 1 and accused of shooting and critically injuring 28-year-old John Chavez. No details were released about a possible motive. Police also did not release cities of residence for the suspect or the shooting victim.

This story will be updated as new details become available.

Andrew Whittenberg

Police scanner traffic Friday afternoon indicated the shooting victim was taken to an urgent care facility initially by a citizen, and first responders quickly transported him to San Juan Regional Medical Center. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said in a release Aug. 3 that Chavez underwent emergency surgery at the hospital before being taken to Albuquerque “for more advanced care.” 

He remains in critical but stable condition, the Sheriff’s Office stated in its release.

The shooting triggered a large response by area law enforcement agencies as they hunted for the suspect, mobilizing a helicopter as part of the search.

Whittenberg has nine felony convictions on his record, including three for burglary, two for vehicle thefts and one for escaping from custody.

“Whittenberg was booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention center on three failure to comply warrants from previous cases, a parole violation, a 2nd-degree felony charge of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle (3rd of subsequent offense), a 3rd-degree felony charge of aggravated battery (great bodily harm with a deadly weapon), a 4th-degree felony charge of possession of a firearm by a felon, and a 4th-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence,” the press release stated.

Contact John R. Moses at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e