District of New Mexico | Felon Who Shot New Mexico State Police Officer Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison

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ALBUQUERQUE – A Los Lunas man who shot a New Mexico State Police officer during a high-speed chase was sentenced to 9 years in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

There is no parole in the federal system.

According to publicly available court records, on February 11, 2022, New Mexico State Police (NMSP) Lt. Jeremy Vaughan was on duty at a gas station in Edgewood when he was alerted to a woman in distress. As Lt. Vaughan approached a vehicle containing the woman and Caleb Elledge, 26, of Los Lunas, Elledge fled, ramming the officer’s vehicle.

A pursuit ensued, ending when Lt. Vaughan performed a pursuit intervention technique. Elledge then fired at Lt. Vaughan, striking him in the neck. Despite his injury, Lt. Vaughan returned fire before Elledge and his passenger fled on foot.

The following day, acting on a tip, NMSP agents located and arrested Elledge in McIntosh, New Mexico. During the arrest, Elledge apologized for shooting the officer. Agents recovered the firearm used in the shooting.

As a previously convicted felon, Elledge was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Lt. Vaughan medically retired due to the severity of his injuries from the shooting. Lt. Vaughan, his family, many of his NMSP colleagues, as well as numerous members of other law enforcement agencies, were present in the courtroom when Elledge was sentenced.

“Attacking a law enforcement officer is a guarantee that you will be caught and punished,” said U.S. Attorney Uballez. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our state and local partners to keep this community safe. Their bravery and tireless dedication to our communal safety deserves our utmost respect. At today’s sentencing, Lt. Vaughn addressed Elledge directly, stating ‘you and I should never have been enemies . . . I have never been angry with you, there is nothing for me to forgive . . . I care about you as a fellow human being.’ Lt. Vaughn and his wife offered grace grounded in faith, challenging Elledge to change: ‘Today is day one.’ Lt. Vaughn’s bravery, faith, and message of hope is a credit to the New Mexico State Police and an inspiration for us all.”

“Today’s sentencing of the defendant is reassuring that violence, especially when directed towards law enforcement, is never acceptable in our society,” said Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI – Albuquerque Division, “The FBI will continue to work with our local, state and tribal partners to use all available resources to make sure that repeat armed offenders are held accountable and bring to justice anyone who assaults law enforcement officers.”

“The sentencing of Caleb Elledge is a significant step towards justice for Lt. Jeremy Vaughan and the entire New Mexico State Police family. This incident is a stark reminder of the dangers our officers face daily in their commitment to protect and serve” said Troy Weisler, Chief of the New Mexico State Police.  “We are grateful for the collaboration with our federal law enforcement partners that led to this outcome. We will continue to honor our duty to keep the citizens of New Mexico safe.”

Upon his release from prison, Elledge will be subject to 3 years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, made the announcement today.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office, Edgewood Police Department, and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office assisted the New Mexico State Police with the investigation of this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Mysliwiec prosecuted the case.

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