LL officer arrested after SWAT situation

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New Mexico State Police are investigating an incident where a Los Lunas police officer allegedly fired multiple weapons at law enforcement and a family member at her home on Dec. 1.

The police officer, Delinda Chavez, 46, “was extremely intoxicated” the night police said she shot at officers who were responding to her home in reference to an officer-involved shooting.

Delinda Chavez Arrested

The incident happened at about 1:30 a.m., after a house-warming party for Chavez at the 400 block of Big Sky Avenue.

According to a search warrant, Megan Sanchez, an off-duty Los Lunas police officer, attended the party and fell asleep in Chavez’s bedroom. When she awoke, Sanchez saw Chavez standing in her bedroom, yelling at Chavez’s cousin.

Shortly after, Sanchez said the woman picked up her department-issued weapon and started waving it around.

Sanchez told police she managed to get the gun from Chavez and take all of the live rounds out of the weapon. She said Chavez went into a walk-in closet and locked the door and fired a shot before she and the woman’s cousin, a female, went outside and called police.

The two women went across the street and hid behind a wall, the search warrant said.

The warrant said Sanchez heard a buzzing sound that she believed was a shot fired at her while she started walking up to Los Lunas Police Sgt. Juan Hernandez. Hernandez was the first responding officer to the scene.

Chavez’s cousin told police she saw the woman fire a round from a shotgun at the women.

According to the warrant, Chavez made calls to police and others during the incident. At some point, she told dispatchers she wanted to shoot herself.

After Los Lunas SWAT arrived, she was put in contact with a crisis negotiator with New Mexico State Police. After multiple conversations, the crisis negotiator talked her into exiting the house, and was taken into custody without incident.

Chavez was transported to the Los Lunas Police Department, where she refused to give a statement.

Chavez has been a patrol officer with Los Lunas for the past three years. Her authority is suspended while Los Lunas police conduct an internal investigation. She is on paid administrative leave. It is unclear how long that investigation will take.

“It was definitely a surprising incident,” said Los Lunas Police Lt. Naithan Gurule. “These types of incidents involving one of our officers has never happened since I have been here. It’s not a normal occurrence.”

New Mexico State Police removed several items from Chavez’s home, including ammunition, a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and three .40-caliber handguns. Police also took a cell phone as evidence.

Police found one 12-gauge shotgun casing and a .40-caliber casing and slug fragments at the scene.

Chavez is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Chavez appeared in Magistrate Court in Los Lunas Monday in front of Judge Tina Garcia. A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled.

She bonded out of the Valencia County Detention Center on Dec. 1 on a $25,000 cash or surety bond.


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