Village of Hatch honors fallen Officer Chavez

El Paso News

People in Hatch came to a stand still to honor fallen Officer Jose Chavez who was killed in the line of duty on Friday afternoon. 

Residents gathered along I-25 with banners, flags, and balloons as Chavez’s procession made its way from Albuquerque, where his autopsy was performed, to Las Cruces. 

The procession passed through Hatch at around 4:50 p.m. and arrived to the Getz Funeral Home in Las Cruces at around 5:30p.m. on Monday.

Doña Ana County Sheriffs say Officer Chavez died Friday, hours after he was shot during a routine traffic stop in the Village of Hatch. Chavez was 33-years-old and a two-year-veteran of the police department. 

Officer Chavez reportedly stopped a silver Lexus with three men inside in front of a convenience store on Franklin Avenue on Friday. 

The driver of the Lexus, Jesse Hanes and of the passengers, James Nelson, both were Ohio fugitives wanted for murder. 

According to another Sheriff’s deputy, Chavez was on the passenger’s side of the car when he saw smoke and Chavez fall to the ground. 

Deputies say the third man in the car, Tony Jones, was not involved in the shooting. 

“It appears that that male was a hitchhiker who had caught a ride from these two,” says a spokesperson for Doña Ana County Sheriff’s.

The three men reportedly pulled over at a rest stop in Radium Springs. That’s where deputies say Hanes stole a Chevy Cruze and shot another man. That man was airlifted to UMC in El Paso and was reportedly in stable condition.

Deputies say they were able to stop the car driven by Hanes with stop sticks. 

Doña Ana County Sheriff Enrique ‘Kiki’ Vigil says the Village of Hatch had a total of eight officers, but now there are seven. “We’ve lost one of our finest. He was one of our deputies. He went through our academy. He went on to work for the City of Hatch,” says Sheriff Vigil.

A vigil was held Saturday to honor the fallen officer. Officer Chavez’s sister was at the vigil. She says her brother was a caring person who always put his two daughters first. 

“He was an amazing dad. That’s one thing he always made sure his little girls were number one,” said Chavez’s sister.

She says she is thankful for the support that has been given to Chavez’s family, “it’s a good feeling to know so many people care about my brother and that we’re not going through this alone,” said Chavez’s sister. 

Chavez’s funeral will be held at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces at 3p.m. on Sunday, August 21st  Funeral service details can be found here. 

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