FARMINGTON — During a high-speed car chase through Farmington earlier this month, the suspect called 911 to warn police to stop following him and was hit twice with Tasers, to little effect, before he was shot by a Deputy U.S. Marshal, officials said Wednesday.
During the chase, 10 bystanders called 911 and at least two pedestrians were nearly struck by the truck, they said. Farmington police on Wednesday released more information about the March 12 chase and subsequent shooting of Farmington resident John Marszalek II.
Marszalek fled from police at more than 90 mph during the 20-minute chase. At red lights he climbed out of his sun roof and stood on the roof of his truck. There, he flailed his arms and pulled down his pants and exposed himself to passersby, Farmington police Sgt. Casey Malone said in a news release.
The chase ended when Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Spencer shot Marszalek once through the driver's side rear window of Marszalek's blue Dodge truck in the intersection of 20th Street and Butler Avenue, Malone said.
Marszalek was ramming into a Farmington patrol car and cutting his own throat and stabbing himself in the neck area when he was shot, according to police.
Spencer is a member of the Southwest Fugitive Investigative Team, which is comprised of U.S. Marshals deputies, San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies and Farmington police.
"The (U.S. Marshals Service) placed (Spencer) on administrative leave for a short period of time to allow him time to be examined by a physician and decompress from the significant incident," Deputy U.S. Marshal Ben Segotta, a spokesman, said in an email.
He said the Marshals Service Office of Inspection is not seeking to place Spencer on a longer administrative leave.
Segotta said the Office of Inspection will conduct a use-of-force investigation and present the findings to the agency's shooting review board once the Farmington police investigation is complete.
He said the Office of Inspection assigned an investigator to the case to facilitate cooperation between the Marshals Service and Farmington police.
Police on Wednesday said shortly after 2 p.m. on March 12, people started calling 911 to report a man who was driving recklessly on Main Street. In four minutes, 10 people called 911 because of his driving, Malone said.
A Farmington police detective in an unmarked car was the first to spot the truck at East Main and 20th Street. Marszalek was stopped at a red light and standing on the vehicle's roof waving his arms, Malone said.
The detective lost Marszalek at Beckland Hills and East Main Street because Marszalek was speeding. But another person called 911 to report the truck was at the Valero Gas Station, 4913 East Main St.
The detective and a sheriff's office detective drove to the gas station and Marszalek fled and struck one of their vehicles. He nearly struck two people walking in Qdoba Mexican Restaurant's parking lot, Malone said.
The Farmington detective then authorized a pursuit because of Marszalek's extremely dangerous driving, which is within Farmington police policy, Malone said. But a patrol supervisor called off the pursuit 45 seconds later because of the amount of traffic on the road.
About 15 minutes after the initial calls to police, officers were unable to stop Marszalek using a tire deflation device at Mayfair and Main streets, according to police.
A minute later, Marszalek called 911 and told police to stop following him. Malone said the 911 operator tried to get Marszalek to pull over.
"If you guys don't want to leave me alone; then trust me, it's not going to go in their favor," Marszalek told the operator, according to police.
He drove toward Flora Vista and turned around at New Mexico Highway 516 and County Road 3050 and drove back into Farmington.
Police again tried to deflate Marszalek's tires near the Four Corners Harley Davidson and again near Outback Steakhouse on Main Street. He avoided the devices, at times by swerving into oncoming traffic, Malone said.
Marszalek continued on Main Street before turning west on 20th Street. He drove into a Farmington police car at the intersection of Butler Avenue.
Malone said five officers surrounded his car as he was ramming the police car. One of the officers broke the rear passenger's side window and an officer and a U.S. Marshal shot at Marszalek with Tasers, which were ineffective.
That was when Spencer shot Marszalek, and police pulled him from his vehicle and started life-saving efforts. He was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center where he died.
Malone said Marszalek's toxicology reports are pending and it isn't clear if he was high or had been drinking alcohol prior to the incident. Authorities also have not released a cause of death.
After the police investigation is complete, the district attorney's office will determine if the shooting was justified, Malone said.
He said police are continuing to investigate the incident and anyone with additional information is asked to call detectives at 505-599-1005.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.