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Police Blotter | Police update report on officer-involved shooting


The New Mexico State Police, on April 28, issued an updated report on the April 16 officer-involved shooting that resulted in one death.

The update said on April 16, at around 11:56 a.m., New Mexico State Police Officer Corey Newman was dispatched to Interstate 40, milepost 64, for a welfare check on a male slumped over the steering wheel of a brown BMW passenger car.

Newman contacted the male, later identified as Oliver Ashley Toledo Saldivar, 26, of North Carolina.

Unknown to the officer, Saldivar was a suspect in a homicide in Durham, North Carolina, on April 12.

As Newman approached the vehicle, Saldivar got out and locked the doors.

Newman asked Saldivar to stand on the passenger side of his marked patrol vehicle while he got some information. Saldivar walked over to the officer’s patrol unit and then reached for a black object concealed in his jacket pocket.

Newman immediately created distance and drew his duty weapon, but Saldivar charged the officer and tackled him.

Newman fired at least one shot from his duty weapon during the attack, striking Saldivar.

After the gunshot, Saldivar continued to fight the officer and tried to grab the officer’s gun. As the two struggled, Saldivar bit the back of the officer’s arm.

At this point, Saldivar had managed to retrieve a gun from his jacket. He held the gun in his hand, attempting to chamber a round into the weapon, and Newman wrestled the weapon away and threw it to the side.

A passing semi-truck driver saw Saldivar fighting Newman and stopped to assist. The Good Samaritan trucker observed the suspect’s gun on the ground, threw it out of his reach, and helped the officer take him into custody.

Once the suspect was in custody, Newman called for an ambulance, and medical aid was rendered to Saldivar.

Saldivar succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

Newman suffered bite injuries to the back of his left arm. He was placed on standard administrative leave.

Newman has four years of law enforcement experience with the New Mexico State Police.

More than $670K in meth, cocaine seized

HOLBROOK – On April 27, a Navajo County deputy conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 40 at milepost 293 just east of Holbrook for a civil traffic violation.

After consent was given to search the vehicle, deputies found 14 pounds of cocaine and 2 pounds of methamphetamine. The estimated street value is more than $670,000.

Jose Antonio Gonzales, 34, and Gilberto Beccerra Torres, 26, both of North Carolina, were arrested and booked into Navajo County Jail for transporting narcotic drugs and dangerous drugs.

Two vehicle fatal crash on Interstate 40

SANTA FE – On April 27 at approximately 1:40 p.m., the New Mexico State Police investigated a fatal crash involving two vehicles on Interstate 40 near milepost 62 by Prewitt, New Mexico.

The initial investigation showed a 1997 Toyota 4-Runner SUV, driven by Brandon Spangler, 32, of Riverbank, California, was traveling west in the right lane of Interstate 40 at a slow rate of speed.

For unknown reasons, Spangler’s vehicle swerved into the left lane in front of a 2019 Chevrolet 2500 pickup, traveling west and attempting to pass the Toyota. The Toyota was struck on the left side by the Chevrolet.

Spangler was transported by emergency medical personnel to a hospital in Grants, where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased by the Office of Medical Investigators.

The driver of the Chevrolet, a 64-year-old male, and a passenger, a 62-year-old female, both of Thorndale, Texas, were uninjured in the crash.

A rear passenger in the Chevrolet, Tracye Clark, 63, of Missouri, Texas, sustained injuries believed to be non-life-threatening. She was transported by emergency medical personnel to a hospital in Grants.

Alcohol appears to be a contributing factor in the crash. All occupants correctly used Seatbelts, except for Clark, who was cited into the Cibola County Magistrate Court for no seatbelt.

State Police will not name the driver and passenger of the Chevrolet due to them not being charged.

Shiprock man sentenced for sexual abuse of minor

LOS ANGELES – Zachery Smith, 27, of Shiprock, was sentenced last week by a federal district judge more than two years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to sexual abuse of a minor.

After serving his sentence, he will be under supervised probation for the rest of his life. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

Smith admitted that between May 1 and September 30, 2019, he engaged in a sexual act with a minor in Cow Springs, Ariz.

Tuba City man sentenced for assault with dangerous weapon

LOS ANGELES – Joshua June, 40, of Tuba City, has been sentenced to four and a half years in federal prison after pleading guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon.

He has been given credit for 784 days he has been incarcerated while awaiting trial. Once he serves his sentence, he will be on supervised release for three years.

He admitted in his plea agreement that in November, 2020, he hit a woman, identified in court records as S.J., with a metal chain, resulting in multiple face fractures.

This occurred on the Arizona portion of the Navajo Reservation.

State Police sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols

SANTA FE –New Mexico State Police will conduct sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, registration, insurance, and driver’s license checkpoints in all counties during May.

“We are bringing awareness to the community to reduce the number of impaired driving-related crashes and fatalities through continued media attention and intensive advertising,” the agency stated in a news release.

“Hundreds of lives could be saved each year if every driver had the courage to make the right decision to not drive impaired,” the release says.

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