NM: Armed Citizen Holds Hit and Run Driver for Police

On Friday, September 9th, 2016, a man driving a Ford Explorer hit a bicyclist in Abuquerque, New Mexico.  The driver did not stop.  The bicycle was lodged under the SUV.  About a mile further on, the driver, who has been identified as a local MMA fighter, 33 year old Henry Martinez, was stopped. He was held at gunpoint by a legally armed man who remains unidentified. From krqe.com:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A video sent to KRQE News 13 by a viewer shows an armed man holding another man, suspected of hitting a bicyclist and fleeing, at gunpoint until police arrive.

Albuquerque Police confirm a bicyclist was hit by an SUV Friday morning. The bike the person was riding was then dragged by the vehicle as it left the crash scene.

Soon after, however, an armed citizen got the suspect out the SUV and held him at gunpoint while calling police.

The video illustrates some of the difficulties of holding a person at gunpoint.


The details of how Martinez was stopped and removed from the Explorer have not been published.

They two men are only 10-15 feet apart, well inside the nominal 21 feet discussed in the Tueller drill.  The armed man has a problem.  How does he notify the police?

He solves the problem by calling them himself, on his cell phone.  He does not take his eyes off of the suspect, but there are awkward moments.  While I believe he did a public service. It would have been wise to order the suspect down to the ground, and in a position so that the suspect could not observe him. Then he could have called the police from a less precarious position.

A desperate or reckless suspect could have used the phone distraction to charge and attempt a disarm.

While no weapon is seen on the suspect, he is muscular and athletic. He is said to have been pleading with the armed citizen “not to shoot him”.

Do not get in a conversation with a suspect.  It is a distraction.  If you have to shoot, you will have to switch mental gears from talking to shooting.  The classic illustration of this is from the movie, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.  It shows the scene with Tuco in the bathtub.  After shooting his opponent, he says, “When its time to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk.”

I am not suggesting that the armed man should have shot Martinez. I am saying that it is bad policy to get into a conversation with someone you are holding at gunpoint. Give clear, authoritative, short commands. In  the military, we call this “command voice”.

You often hear it in police videos.  “Get Down!” would be appropriate here.

In this case, if the armed man knew that the videographer was present, he could have asked them to call the police, allowing him to stay focused on the threat.

Use the resources that you have handy.  Be willing to enlist available help.

It was later determined that Martinez was driving with a revoked license.

There is no indication of any charges against the armed man.

The bicyclist was taken to the hospital.  They are expected to recover.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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