By The Daily Press Staff
A nearly nine-hour standoff between police and a man who barricaded himself inside a home on the corner of Virginia and Hill streets ended peacefully around 1 a.m. with the suspect taken into custody.
The incident began around 4 p.m. Friday when Grant County sheriff’s deputies went to the house to serve a warrant on the suspect, said Carl Christiansen, a public information officer with the New Mexico State Police. State Police were called in to assist at 5 p.m., Christiansen said.
Neighbors reported that a woman and children exited the house, telling officers that her boyfriend was still inside.
At least two dozen law enforcement officers from at least four different agencies converged on the scene, including Grant County sheriff’s deputies, Silver City police, Las Cruces police, and New Mexico State Police.
All access to Virginia Street was blocked off, from U.S. 180 to Hill Street, and police shot off a number of flash bangs to distract the suspect. Neighbors from the La Questa Apartments and from neighboring streets gathered outside, until police ordered them back into their homes or out of the “hot zone” of Virginia Street. From the end of the block, they could hear officers trying to communicate with the suspect for several hours, saying “Antonio Hernandez, this is the New Mexico State Police, come out with your hands up and empty.”
Police brought in a small tank-like vehicle shortly before the end of the standoff, which came after officers fired tear gas canisters into the home around 1 a.m., then sent a police dog inside. Witnesses who watched the scene unfold said the dog dragged the suspect out of the home “dripping and drooling” from the tear gas. He had been hiding in the attic, they said.
The home has reportedly been the scene of multiple police visits.
No officials with town, county or state law enforcement would confirm any details from the standoff, including the suspect’s name or the reason for the warrant.