N.M. Police Officer Wounded by Colleague, Bitten by K-9 During Shooting

April 1, 2024
A Santa Fe police officer remains on leave after he was struck by gunfire and bitten by a police K-9 during an incident that involved a chase with a man wanted on felony warrants.

By Matthew Reisen

Source Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

A Santa Fe police officer was not only shot by his fellow officers but also bitten by a police dog during a shooting that left another man dead.

Deputy Chief Ben Valdez of the Santa Fe Police Department said officer Charles Ovalle is the only officer in the incident who has not returned to duty.

Ovalle was also the only officer injured.

"Officer Ovalle was struck by gunfire and bit by a SFPD police service dog. He remains on leave," Valdez said.

The other two SFPD personnel, detective Manuel Romero and officer Luis Ruiz, have returned to duty.

Valdez said all three officers fired guns during the March 10 incident. The bullets injured Ovalle and George Theragood and killed Rick Chavez, who was wanted on felony warrants.

It is unclear how officer Ovalle was struck by bullets from his fellow officers and how he got bitten by a police dog.

Around 1 p.m., Santa Fe police tracked Chavez, 35, to his father's home along Rodeo Road, west of St. Francis Drive.

A pursuit began when Chavez fled from the home in a car and officers used spike strips to deflate his tires, according to police.

Police said Chavez then got out of the car with a gun in his hand and approached a car being driven by Theragood. That's when officers Romero, Ruiz and Ovalle opened fire.

Chavez, Theragood and Ovalle were struck by bullets. Ovalle and Theragood were treated at a hospital, and Chavez later died from his injuries.


(c)2024 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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