Police subdue suicidal suspect, responding deputy crashes into vehicle


Taos Police Department officers were attempting to serve a bench warrant for Jeremy Badhand, a Taos resident, on Friday (Aug. 11) along Camino de Santiago, when they encountered him holding a gun to his head and a knife under his throat, threatening to commit suicide.

A neighbor said they heard one of the officers yelling at the suspect to "put the [expletive] gun down." The suspect then allegedly fled westbound along Camino de Santiago, passed the intersection with Gusdorf Road and turned north along Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

Taos police officers pursued by vehicle and on foot and called in support from Taos County sheriff's deputies.

One deputy, Phillip Ortega, was en route to Pilar on a motorcycle for a traffic control call when he received word of the fleeing suspect. Ortega had activated his lights and sirens and was speeding down the southbound lane of Paseo del Pueblo Sur, according to Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe. A female driver allegedly failed to yield as she pulled out of the Walmart parking lot. Ortega swerved into the middle lane, but could not avoid the collision. He crashed into the driver's side of the woman's silver Chevrolet Malibu, causing extensive damage and splintering the car's windshield.

A Taos County Emergency Services medical unit, along with support from Taos Volunteer Fire Department and New Mexico State Police, arrived on the scene and administered care to both the female driver and Ortega. Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe stated at 3:30 p.m. that Ortega was "banged up, but OK." Authorities have not provided any information regarding the woman's condition.

Meanwhile, Officer James Suazo and supporting officers continued to chase Badhand on foot, cornering him near Ziggy's Frozen Yogurt, where Badhand continued to resist. Suazo allegedly fired a Taser at him twice, which failed to subdue the suspect. A supporting officer fired a third Taser, which brought the suspect to the ground. After a brief altercation with Suazo, the suspect was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Taos Police Department Detective Bill North said following the incident that Badhand has an extensive criminal record and that behavioral health support will be sought to provide treatment for his suicidal behavior.

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