NM suspect assaults officer, steals cruiser, leads police on chase

NM suspect assaults officer, steals cruiser, leads police on chase
Luiz Gauna, 33, of Roswell, New Mexico. (Source: New Mexico State Police)

ROSWELL, New Mexico (KCBD) - A 33-year-old New Mexico man is recovering in a hospital and is in custody of the New Mexico State Police after being accused of assaulting a Roswell police officer and stealing his patrol vehicle.

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, around 5 p.m., State Police officers learned Luiz Gauna was on a bicycle and was stopped by a police officer. Officials say Gauna took three tennis ball sized river rocks from his pocket and threw them at the officer. The officer was hit in the head twice and once in the arm.

After the assault, State Police officials say Gauna stole the patrol vehicle. The officer used the his portable radio to report the theft.

Gauna led Roswell Police on a chase into oncoming traffic and avoided several attempts by law enforcement to utilize tire deflation devices.

State Police officers joined the chase where they tried to deploy tire deflation devices but were unsuccessful. The chase continued southbound on U.S. Highway 285 towards Artesia

As Gauna approached the Chaves/Eddy county line, Eddy County Sheriff’s deputies tried to deploy tire deflation devices, however, Gauna avoided the attempt and began driving southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 285 at speeds around 70 miles per hour.

At about milepost 77 on U.S. Highway 285, Gauna drove the stolen police vehicle head-on into a silver Dodge pick-up truck. After the crash, Gauna exited the stolen police vehicle and tried to get into to the Dodge pick-up truck that he just hit. As Gauna began to climb over the female driver of the Dodge, officers were able to subdue Gauna and take him into custody.

The Roswell police officer that was assaulted was treated and released with minor injuries.

The female victim Gauna crashed into was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

State Police has charged Gauna with aggravated battery to a police officer, aggravated fleeing of a police officer, and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. Additional charges could be pending as the investigation continues.

Gauna remains at the El Paso hospital in the custody of the New Mexico State Police. Upon his release from the hospital, he will be booked in El Paso by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and extradited to New Mexico.

State Police has charged Gauna with Aggravated battery to a police officer, aggravated fleeing of a police officer, and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. Additional charges could be pending as the investigation continues.

Gauna remains at the El Paso hospital in the custody of the New Mexico State Police. Upon his release from the hospital, he will be booked in El Paso by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and extradited to New Mexico.

The New Mexico State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit was called to assist with the investigation. The name of the female victim and the Roswell police officer will not be released by State Police. This case remains under investigation by the New Mexico State Police.

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