Suspect in police shootout arraigned on federal gun charges

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The suspect in August’s shootout with Albuquerque police answered to a federal judge Wednesday on the one count he’s facing so far.

James Ramirez will stay in jail as the feds move forward with their case, and as state prosecutors continue building theirs.

Ramirez is charged with one count – a federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty this week in federal court.

His arraignment yesterday, is tied to the shootout with APD back in August that left four APD officers injured. Federal court documents point to a conviction for a California burglary in July 2014, and a Glock pistol found next to Ramirez in the parking lot where he was shot in Albuquerque.

Police said he fired almost forty shots at officers there, before he was shot himself.

The parking lot shootout happened after another shootout in a nearby alley. Police said Ramirez fired more than thirty shots at officers then. APD released lapel camera video of the shootouts last week.

What is still unclear is when Ramirez will face state charges for the actual shootings, he was facing state charges but police and prosecutors decided to hold off.

"We wanted to make sure that we ensured that we have the strongest prosecution possible,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.

At a press conference last Friday, Medina said he worked with local prosecutors on how to handle the case.

"Obviously we have concerns with our state system and its ability to keep people in jail, so we wanted to make sure we took this to a federal prosecution in hopes that it will give us the maximum time possible,” Medina said.

A trial date has not been set yet for the federal charge. Ramirez will stay in custody as the process plays out.