An Albuquerque, New Mexico man held up another man at gunpoint until police arrived following a hit-and-run. Police have identified the suspect as Henry Martinez, 33. Martinez was taken into custody and is facing charges for leaving the scene of a crash and driving with a revoked license.
Martinez, a mixed martial artist, is accused of striking a bicyclist on a nearby frontage road and fleeing the scene. He was stopped by the good Samaritan about a mile away on Interstate Highway I-25. The hit-and-run victim’s bicycle was still lodged under Martinez’s Ford Explorer when the armed citizen stopped him.
Witness Vern Hershberger captured the standoff on video. Authorities involved have not disclosed the identity of the armed citizen who stopped Martinez, nor have they disclosed the victim’s identity.
Local news from KRQE News 13 was first to arrive at the scene of the hit-and-run where paramedics were treating a man for his injuries. The Albuquerque police told KRQE that they expect the accident victim to recover completely.
The video shows Martinez begging the armed man not to shoot while the armed man holds him at gunpoint. The armed man is also on his phone throughout the video.
Police haven’t said why the armed man confronted Martinez, how he stopped him or how he got Martinez out of his SUV. What happened to him after the arrest is also unknown. What we can see is that he was successful and that no one else was hurt in the process. Police have not filed charges against anyone involved besides Martinez.
In New Mexico, it is legal for a person to make a citizen’s arrest. Making a citizen’s arrest can be brave, but it can also be risky from a legal perspective. A person must believe that a felony-level crime has been committed and use “no more than reasonably necessary force” to make the arrest.
“So long as the arrestor had a reasonable subjective belief that such a crime had been committed,” explains 2nd Judicial District Court Judge Alan M. Malott, “the privilege could apply even if the belief was factually incorrect or the arrestee was later found innocent of the charge.”
If a person uses more force than necessary or breaks the law making the arrest “he may be liable for either civil damages, criminal consequences or both,” said Malott.”Conduct which violates our criminal statutes, such as assault, battery and false imprisonment may also result in liability for civil damages.”