Los Lunas man arrested on arson charges

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A 50-year-old Los Lunas man is in custody after police arrested him on several charges, including arson.

Robert Shoemaker: Arrested

Los Lunas police were called to the 400 block of Colonial Avenue at about 7:30 a.m. Monday. When officers arrived on scene, they ran toward the home to see if anyone was inside.

According to a press release, Los Lunas Police Officer Jonathan Norris saw that a woman was trying to escape the flames by crawling through a window.

Norris assisted the woman out of the home and to safety. No one else was inside the home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.

After fire personnel extinguished the flames, they told officers they believed the cause of the fire to be arson.

While still at the scene, detectives saw Robert Shoemaker, whom they were looking for, drive by the residence. Officers attempted to stop Shoemaker, but he initially refused.

Shoemaker finally pulled over in the parking lot area of the Valencia County Detention Center.

When officers made contact with the man, they observed him exit his vehicle with a beer in his hand. According to the release, Shoemaker drank the beer while officers were giving him commands to get on the ground.

The officers were able to take the suspect into custody and transported him to the police department, where he was interviewed about the fire.

During the interview, according to the release, Shoemaker admitted to starting the fire, saying he did it because his home was in inhabitable conditions.

Shoemaker is being held in the Valencia County Detention Center on a $108,500 cash or surety bond. He is charged with arson, a second-degree felony; criminal damage to property, a fourth-degree felony; and evading an officer and having an open container, both misdemeanors.

“Officer Jonathan Norris is commended for his quick actions rendering aid to the woman by assisting her out of the burning residence,” said Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick.

“The actions of the officers and detectives on scene resulted in the swift apprehension of this violent offender,” he added.

Los Lunas police Lt. Vince Torres said Shoemaker did know that the woman, whose identity hasn’t been released, was in the residence when he set it ablaze, but reportedly told investigators he warned the woman to leave the house.

Torres said the woman, who isn’t related to Shoemaker, had been staying with the suspect for a couple of days.

“He used some sort of accelerant in different points within the house,” Torres said. “There was more than $20,000 in damages.”


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.