AP NEWS

Police: Arizona man shot in standoff on New Mexico highway

February 28, 2019
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In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, New Mexico State Police investigate an officer involved shooting in which an officer shot a suspect who was holding a 7-year-old hostage in a vehicle, at right, parked along Interstate 25 near Rincon, New Mexico. An Arizona man shot and wounded by an officer during a standoff along Interstate 25 reportedly abducted his wife in Louisiana and threatened to kill his 7-year-old son during the standoff, New Mexico authorities said. (Jacqueline Devine/Las Cruces Sun News via AP)

HATCH, N.M. (AP) — An Arizona man shot and wounded by an officer during a standoff along Interstate 25 reportedly abducted his wife in Louisiana and threatened to kill his 7-year-old son during the standoff, New Mexico authorities said.

The wife of James Kirkland, 39, of Kingman bolted from the vehicle when it stopped early Wednesday on I-25 near the southern New Mexico village of Hatch following a pursuit that began after the vehicle bypassed a Border Patrol checkpoint, police said.

Kirkland got around the checkpoint by driving northbound in the southbound lanes, state police said in a statement late Wednesday.

At the time, New Mexico officers were unaware investigators with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana were looking for the couple after conducting a welfare check and learning from the wife’s employer that Kirkland had allegedly taken her.

Armed with a firearm, Kirkland barricaded himself inside the vehicle, holding his son hostage, the state police said. Kirkland put the boy between himself and the officers and indicated he was going to kill the boy and then himself, authorities said.

Officers tried to negotiate with him and at one point a state police officer fired his weapon striking Kirkland. Other officers and deputies with the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office pulled the boy away.

The boy was unharmed and Kirkland was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a hospital, the statement said.

State Police Officer Ray Wilson said Kirkland remained hospitalized Thursday and would face numerous state and federal charges once he’s booked into jail.

Wilson said investigators were looking into Kirkland’s past.

Lori Steele, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office in Louisiana, said she did not have any information on Kirkland and that her agency’s involvement began with the welfare check. No one was home, but she said authorities later received information that the wife was in New Mexico.

The state police officer who fired his weapon has been placed on paid leave while the shooting is investigated. The officer’s name will not be made public until interviews are completed.