Alleged fiance of police shooting victim arrested after chase

Updated: 04/22/2014 12:52 PM | Created: 04/22/2014 7:31 AM
By: Caleb James and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An overnight police pursuit through Albuquerque ended with a man being taken down by a police dog. 

The incident began Monday night when a man, identified by police as 26-year-old Mario Andres Romero, showed up to a vigil armed with guns. He claimed he was the fiancé of Mary Hawkes, the 19-year-old woman who was killed by an Albuquerque police officer during a foot chase that morning. 

Police have not confirmed Romero's connection to Hawkes.

According to the criminal complaint, an officer saw Romero in the parking lot crying and approached him. The officer said Romero had a fight with his fiancée through text messages and then found out on social media that she had passed away. He told the officer he borrowed a car to attend the candlelight vigil.

The officer said he was sorry for Romero's loss and the two continued to talk. Romero told the officer he was surprised they were having a conversation and not a confrontation. Romero then told the officer that he harassed the crowd at the vigil with toy weapons, but police have not yet confirmed if the firearms were fake. 

The officer asked if the Toyota 4Runner that Romero took to the vigil was stolen, but he said it was borrowed. The officer then said Romero admitted he wanted to end his life to be with his fiancée. 

As Romero walked away and got into the driver's seat, the officer contacted detectives and said Romero seemed distraught and intended to hurt himself or other citizens and police.

As officer pursued Romero, police said he pointed guns at officers and at himself. He even drove off-road into the Bosque several times.

Police said officers waited to use a PIT maneuver until he slowed down. At one point, police called off a PIT maneuver because Romero was holding a gun to himself.

"At the time when the dog was approaching him, he did toss a handgun that was recovered at the scene. There were also other handguns that were here located at the scene," APD spokesman Elder Guevara said.

In the end, Romero's stolen car was riding on rims after hitting APD spike strips on Rio Bravo near Coors. He attempted to get out of the disabled vehicle and run, but was taken down by a canine unit.

Officers also located a female passenger from the stolen vehicle at Hill and 2nd Street. Police said the passenger was under 18. She told officers that Romero was upset due to Hawkes' passing and said she told him to let her out of the vehicle several times.

Police arrested Romero at the scene. He is charged with abuse of a child, kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing and aggravated assault on a peace officer.

Police arrest Mario Romero after a chase through Albuquerque.
Mario Romero was caught on camera bringing guns to a candelight vigil held for a woman shot and killed by police.
Mario Romero, 26, was arrested on several charges related to the chase.

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