Update: All 14 Hostages Rescued Safely
A hostage Standoff at a New Mexico Pistachio Farm with the The New Mexico State Police and an armed gunman was ongoing Sunday.
Police day there were able to have rescued 14 hostages, including a three year old, from the farm in southern New Mexico Sunday afternoon.
In a press briefing after the hostage standoff State Police identified the suspect as Caleb Scroggins, 21 from Alamogordo, NM.
State Police said that they had been searching for Scroggins because he was a suspect in a shooting earlier in the afternoon. During the search, police Americans across Scroggin’s vehicle and a high speed pursuit began.
On the highway traveling westbound Scroggins failed to yield to northbound traffic on a highway and was t-boned by another vehicle. Scroggins got out of the car, and began exchange heavy gunfire with police.
Police say the suspect then ran into McGinn’s Pistachio Farm store and took 14 hostages threatening to kill them all if police didn't back down.
Officers were able to call in law enforcement from multiple New Mexico agencies to assist in the potentially deadly situation. After the hostage negotiating team arrived, the State Police Tactical Response Team secured the perimeter. The tactical team was able to infiltrate the farm store and secure all the hostages and Scroggins surrendered peacefully soon after.
While police believe Scroggins may have been armed when he took the hostages, he was not armed nor found in possession of a firearm when he surrendered.
In a statement that was released by law enforcement they wrote, “The Sheriff’s office worked very swiftly to talk the suspect out. He gave himself up. Didn’t have a weapon on him at the time but we're going to go through the scene and see what’s in there,” said New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas.
Fortunately during the standoff none of the hostages were injured physically, but they were evaluated at the hospital. Scroggins was treated for injuries from the car crash during the police chase before his transfer to the county jail.
Police said that Scroggins has a long criminal history. Past charges include battery of a household member, concealing identity, breaking and entering, possession of a controlled suspect and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.
He will soon be transferred for detainment in jail after his treatment at the hospital. Charges against Scroggins for Sunday’s incidents are pending and will likely be presented by a State Police officer during his hospital stay.