Hobbs Man in Custody Following All-Night Police Standoff

Hobbs Man in Custody Following All-Night Police Standoff

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

HOBBS - A police standoff at Rex Arms Apartments on Corbett Street ended early Wednesday morning, after more than six hours of gunfire and tense negotiations.

Lea County Sheriff's deputies, Hobbs Police officials and SWAT units surrounded a two-block radius around the apartment complex through the night.

Officers were seen patrolling the area in bullet-proof vests and diverting traffic in armored vehicles.

At least one person involved was taken into custody at the conclusion of the standoff, according to officials.

The suspect who barricaded himself in Rex Arms unit #9 was identified by family members as Jonathan Vincent Soto.

According to Hobbs Police Captain Charles Cunningham, the incident began when officers arrived to execute a search warrant. He could not provide details about the warrant or how the situation escalated.

"I can only confirm shots were fired [during the execution of the search warrant]," he told NewsWest 9. "New Mexico State Police will handle the criminal investigation [relating to this standoff]."

Soto's aunt, Christine Garza, broke down sobbing about five hours into the standoff.

"I'm so scared they're going to kill him," she said. "He's like my own. He was my baby."

She and Soto's grandmother, Angie Herrera, pleaded with officers at the scene to let them negotiate with him.

Garza told NewsWest 9 authorities kept them blocks away from the apartment complex and did not permit them to speak with her nephew.

"It didn't have to be like this," said Herrera. "They terrified him. It didn't have to be this way."

Captain Cunningham could not release information at the scene about how they handled negotiations with the suspect.

He only said they aimed to "maintain a controlled environment" to ensure the safety of "people outside [the apartment], as well as the occupant or occupants of the apartment."

A woman described by Soto's family as his girlfriend was in Rex Arms with him for the duration of the standoff. She was reportedly caught in the gunfire several hours before Soto was taken into custody, but did not exit the apartment.

"They shot her in the foot," said Garza. "From what I know, the girl [didn't] want to leave him and walk out."

Hobbs Police could not confirm how many people had been injured during the incident.

New Mexico State Police did not return calls for comment.