NM State Police identify man accused of holding child hostage in Hatch

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New Mexico State Police have identified the suspect involved in a standoff in Hatch earlier this week as James Kirkland, 39.

Officials say Kirkland was wanted out of Louisiana for kidnapping his family.

According to a report by our sister station, KRQE, Kirkland allegedly blew through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Dona Ana County Thursday with his wife and 7-year-old son in the car.

When he stopped near Hatch, New Mexico, his wife fled. That’s when police say he barricaded himself inside and threatened to kill himself and the boy.

A state police officer then opened fire, hitting Kirkland. No one else was injured.

He was booked into the Dona Ana County Jail on Thursday on the following charges: Two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault, abuse of a child, careless driving, reckless driving, battery against a household member, aggravated fleeing from an officer, and interference with communication.


A New Mexico State Police officer shot a man who was holding a child hostage during a standoff in Hatch.

The man had allegedly led Border Patrol agents on a chase on Interstate 25, which ended at about milepost 37, a New Mexico State Police news release said.

There the man armed himself and barricaded himself inside the vehicle with a 7-year-old child, the release said.

“During the standoff, a State Police officer fired their department-issued weapon striking the suspect,” the release said. “The child was safely rescued, and the suspect was airlifted to an area hospital.”

The suspect’s condition is unknown, but the child and officers were uninjured. 

Police said the investigation is in the preliminary stages and more information will be released as it becomes available. The incident is being treated as an officer-involved shooting. 

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