A man who escaped police custody Tuesday morning tried to take an officer’s gun during an ensuing struggle and a shot was fired, the Santa Fe Police Department said.
The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Robert Noedel, and an officer suffered minor injures in the fight at the corner of Baca Street and Cerrillos Road at a Giant gas station. Police said Noedel, who reportedly has a history of escaping police custody, was trying to steal an unoccupied state vehicle at the gas station. He was rearrested.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the attempted car theft and shooting.
Around 9 a.m. Tuesday, officers responded to reports of a man sleeping in a car on Chavez Place, just east of the Shake Foundation, the police department said in a news release.
Police arrested Noedel on an outstanding warrant and also charged him with receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle because the car he was sleeping in had been reported stolen, the release said.
While police were transporting Noedel, the statement said, he managed to get out of his handcuffs and open the car door by reaching through the bars on the window. Police said he fled and tried to steal an unoccupied car at the Giant gas station, and then got into an altercation with an officer attempting to stop him.
During the fight, Noedel tried to take the officer’s gun, the release said, and a shot was fired.
The sheriff’s office will investigate the incident, Santa Fe police Lt. Michele Williams said.
“The suspect did try to disarm the officer and his deputy pistol did go off in the incident,” Williams said. “As a matter of transparency, we’re letting the sheriff’s office continue that part of the investigation.”
At the scene, a white sedan with a state emblem on the side sat in the parking lot of the Giant station, blocked in by a Santa Fe police car. Yellow crime scene tape surrounded the gas station and tape was also placed behind nearby stores on Flagman Way.
Officers shut down Baca Street as they conducted an investigation.
Police were not yet releasing the name of the officer involved in the incident, Williams said.
It wasn’t the first time that Noedel — held in the Santa Fe County jail on charges of receiving or transferring stolen motor vehicles and failure to comply — has been accused of car theft.
In early January, he was one of two people accused of stealing four company cars from the now-shuttered Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus. Court records show that case was dismissed for lack of prosecution. It was dismissed without prejudice, meaning the District Attorney’s Office could still pursue charges.
Noedel’s online court history shows he’s faced a number of other felony charges, including larceny, aggravated battery, burglary of a vehicle and receiving stolen property. He’s also been charged at least five times with resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.
In 2017, he was charged with escape or attempted escape from the custody of an officer. A criminal complaint says he escaped twice from a patrol car when an officer was trying to take him to jail after arresting him on a warrant.
Noedel first managed to get out of the car on the side of Interstate 25, the complaint says. The officer wrestled him into submission and threatened to use his Taser to convince Noedel to get back in the car.
The officer then took Noedel to the hospital to get medical clearance, the complaint says, and tried once more to take him to the county jail.
But Noedel escaped, again.
As the officer reached the intersection of N.M. 599 and N.M. 14, the complaint says, Noedel unlocked a cruiser door using his belt. Police chased and caught him again, and finally managed to get him to the jail, just down the street.