A location near New Mexico’s Route 66 Casino Hotel was the site of a prisoner stealing a van after faking an illness and overpowering a deputy, authorities revealed this week. That very same prisoner reportedly was the man who was shot last week by a federal agent near the same casino.
The inmate, identified as Josh Hall, 34, was being transported in a prisoner van on Monday afternoon, according to KRQE, a local TV station. He complained to a McKinley County deputy driving the van that he was having a heart attack. He said he could not breathe.
The deputy stopped the van near Route 66 Casino. He got out of the van and went to assist Hall.
But instead, Hall assaulted the deputy, deputies later said. The two men also allegedly struggled over the deputy’s firearm. Somehow, Hall was able to slip out of the handcuffs placed on his wrists. Hall eventually got behind the steering wheel of the van and drove off, deputies said.
Authorities were notified and the New Mexico State Police and Cibola County deputies searched for the stolen van.
It eventually was spotted some 30 miles from the casino. A police vehicle rammed the van and it was pinned. Hall was apprehended.
Two other prisoners were in the van at the time. They were identified as Rickie Billie and LaCosta Reeves, KRQE said. There did not appear to be serious injuries from Monday’s incident.
Same Suspect Wounded Near Casino
KRQE further reported that Hall was wounded by a federal agent on March 15 near Route 66 Casino. The incident began when agents from the federal Homeland Security Investigations agency were at the Route 66 Travel Center. They went up to a pickup truck that turned out to be stolen, authorities said.
Hall was outside, and then entered the truck. He used the truck to ram a vehicle driven by one of the agents, authorities said. The agent then shot Hall.
Hall was apprehended and transported to a local hospital. He received treatment and then was booked at New Mexico’s Metropolitan Detention Center on March 16. It was not immediately known what charges were brought against Hall.
Prior Crimes Near Casino
The area near Route 66 Casino has seen other violent crimes. In an earlier incident, on Feb. 27, a 63-year-old man died near the Route 66 Casino Hotel. The victim, identified by deputies as Larry Martinez, passed away after a fight turned violent, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
The situation began when someone notified the sheriff’s office that “several subjects” were “drinking alcohol, firing guns, and acting belligerent,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. The activity soon escalated to a physical fight, the statement adds.
In still another incident, last September a suspect shot and killed a man east of Route 66 Casino Hotel. The victim was believed to be in his early 20s.
Route 66 Casino is operated by the Pueblo of Laguna tribe. It is located near Albuquerque.
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