A suspected panhandler remains in jail after Las Cruces Police say he injured a female officer during a violent struggle Sunday morning.
Police arrested 46-year-old Timothy Ray Allison, who is believed to be homeless, on multiple charges including aggravated battery, assault upon a peace officer and criminal trespassing.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website, Allison is also a registered sex offender from Michigan.
Shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, the officer was on patrol near Brake Masters, in the 400 block of S. Solano Dr., when she observed Allison on the property of the business.
Police say Allison is a known panhandler who previously had been issued a trespass card from Brake Masters and was prohibited from the private property.
As the officer made contact with Allison and tried to conduct a pat-down, Allison spun around and took an aggressive stance, according to police.
The officer drew her Taser but Allison turned and ran away. The officer pursued Allison for a short distance before the suspect stopped and allegedly charged at the officer, who deployed her Taser which was ineffective.
Allison then allegedly began punching the officer who fell backward. The officer was able to deflect most of the punches but Allison bit her forearm twice during the physical altercation, according to police.
A passerby saw the struggle and came to the officer’s defense but he, too, was unable to gain control of Allison. Other LCPD officers arrived and were finally able to gain control of Allison and take him into custody.
The officer is a 1 1/2 year veteran with the department. The officer was transported to a local hospital with two bite injuries that required treatment. Her injuries were not life-threatening.
According to an employee at Brake Masters, the shop has had issues with Allison trespassing for months and finally turned to law enforcement for help.
“He’s a known panhandler and he’s also been criminally trespassed from that property meaning he’s been given a trespass card where he agrees not to be back on that property,” Las Cruces spokesman Dan Trujillo said.
Trujillo says any business can ask for a trespass card to give to unwanted visitors, warning them not to be caught on that property again. He says Allison returned to a property he’d been told to stay away from and attacked the officer when she tried to arrest him.
Nichole Martinez, director of a las cruces homeless shelter, says for the most part panhandling isn’t a problem in the city. But in order to keep it that way, educating people who pass through their facility is important.
“Some of the ways we think we could be proactive about that with our homeless is to converse with them during our great conversation meetings that we have weekly we’d also be willing to put up a few signs here on our campus just letting them know what the current laws are,” Martinez said.
“Obviously city council took issue with that and passed an ordinance against it but we still have these incidents once in a while,” Trujillo said.
Las Cruces police tell ABC-7 its a misdemeanor if a panhandler is caught trespassing again. Its up to the judge to determine a fine.
Allison was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center with bond set at $10,000.