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Violent SoCal fugitive identified as man killed in LCPD shootout

UPDATE, Oct. 13: Las Cruces police on Wednesday identified a violent California fugitive as the man killed in a shootout with officers during a traffic stop Saturday night.

Authorities said 35-year-old Gustavo Esparza of Los Angeles, who was wanted on a federal warrant for violating his probation for weapons possession, opened fire on Las Cruces police.

Investigators said Esparza had an extensive criminal record - with numerous arrests in California for charges ranging from assault with a deadly weapon and illegal firearms activity to various drug violations, burglary and car theft along with resisting arrest.

Meantime, officials said an innocent bystander who was wounded in the crossfire remained hospitalized Wednesday in stable condition at University Medical Center in El Paso.

UPDATE, Oct. 11: ABC-7 on Monday obtained videos in which you can hear the deadly shootout involving Las Cruces police on Saturday night. You can watch those in the video player above.

Authorities released no new information about the incident; a police spokesperson said the events remained under investigation.

UPDATE, Oct. 10: Las Cruces police said Sunday that a traffic stop ended in a standoff and shootout that resulted in the death of the suspect and a bystander being hospitalized.

The traffic stop happened about 8 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of 5th Street and Wilson Avenue, where police say the man driving the car opened fire on officers before fleeing and leading them on a chase.

That pursuit ended at 4th Street and Davis Avenue with the driver refusing to get out of the car and a standoff lasting over two hours, according to police.

Authorities said that standoff ended in an exchange of gunfire - with the suspect firing on officers and police returning fire.

The car driver died at the scene, while another man nearby - who wasn’t involved in the incident - was shot and wounded. He was listed in stable condition Sunday at El Paso’s University Medical Center.

As with all officer-involved shootings, a task force including prosecutors and state police were investigating the incident.

No identities were released.

ORIGINAL REPORT, Oct. 10: LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — A shooting occurred late Saturday night in Las Cruces near Mayfield High School.

The gunfire happened in the area of Picacho Avenue and Valley Drive, which is just down the street from the school.

There was no immediate word on the extent of injuries from the shooting or whether any arrests had been made.

Las Cruces police were on scene investigating, but didn't offer any further details on what had transpired.

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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