Police call off chase on N36 after false report

Dan Schwartz The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Police on Thursday afternoon called off a search for a man they initially believed had shot at his girlfriend in Shiprock and fled toward Farmington.

Capt. Ivan Tsosie with the Shiprock division of the Navajo Nation Police Department said police stopped the search when they received word the report of the shooting was false.

"The latest information we got was that the caller was lying," Tsosie said.

The chase began before 3 p.m. on the south side of Shiprock as the male suspect sped toward Farmington on Navajo Route 36. Authorities were no longer searching for the man by about 4:30 p.m., said Lt. Phillip Joe with the Shiprock division.

Earlier in the afternoon, police were searching for a white Chevrolet Impala with a male driver who had short hair and may have been wearing a dark gray or black shirt, according to police scanner traffic.

A witness told police the suspect turned into the Northern Edge Navajo Casino, according to police dispatchers. That led officers to set up a perimeter at the casino as they searched the parking lot.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies also established a command center at the casino, deploying the department's armored vehicle and calling out more than a dozen armed deputies.

Meanwhile, Farmington police officers waited ready to deploy spike strips at the Shell gas station at the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and N.M. Highway 371, or the Bisti Highway.

Deputies left the casino before 4 p.m., and Farmington police abandoned their perimeters shortly after.

Law enforcement from the Bloomfield Police Department and New Mexico State Police also initially assisted the Navajo Nation police, according to scanner traffic.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.