The general manager of the Speedway gas station in Chama got an early morning scare on Aug. 20, when a man asked her for a cigarette, then told her he had three bombs in his car.
General Manager Debbie Thurston of Chama had not yet opened the store when Isaac Hunt, 42, of Tierra Amarilla asked her for a cigarette.
“Told him I was not open yet,” Thurston wrote in her voluntary statement to the Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office. “Opened door at 5 a.m. and gave him a cig about 20 minutes after and then went back out and told the man he could not hang out in front of my store.”
That’s when Hunt told her there were three bombs in his car and he couldn’t leave. Thurston said she was calling the cops, but Hunt said the bomb squad was on its way.
“I then asked him if he called them he said ‘yes, I called 911,’” Thurston wrote.
She also called 911 and was told to evacuate. After speaking with her district manager and a security guard, she went to the Lowe’s parking lot, to wait for police. While enroute, a customer told Thurston that Hunt was screaming at them, saying there was a bomb in the white car and they needed to leave.
When they didn’t immediately leave, he began cursing at them, according to Thurston’s statement.
New Mexico State Police Officer Ronnie Carrillo arrived at 6 a.m. He quickly realized that he’d dealt with Hunt before, on Aug. 18, in regard to the same type of incident. He saw the man standing between the gas pumps and saw his car parked near the store.
Carrillo spoke with Hunt and asked him to explain what was going on, to which he replied that nothing was going on.
“I asked Mr. Hunt if he had told the store clerk he had three bombs in his vehicle,” Carrillo wrote in his incident report. “Mr. Hunt stated he did not tell her that and stated there must be a misunderstanding.”
The officer placed him under investigative detention and put him in the back of his unit, while he sorted out the details.
Meanwhile, State Police Officer David Saiz, a certified bomb technician and State Police Bomb Squad member also arrived. He saw a perimeter had been established and the gas station was shut down for business.
“When I arrived on scene, I met with Officer Victor Flores, NMSP Bomb Squad Assistant Commander,” Saiz wrote in his supplemental report. “We were briefed on the situation by officers on scene. Officer Flores then deployed his certified explosive detection canine, Monty, and inspected the male’s vehicle parked at the gas station. The canine did not perform an alert.”
Since Monty didn’t alert to anything in Hunt’s car, Flores and Saiz hand-searched the vehicle but found no explosive threat or anything hazardous.
Carrillo called Sgt. Kathy Yardman and discussed the situation with her. He also spoke with Hunt’s mother and stepfather. Yardman told the officer to take Hunt to Santa Fe for a mental evaluation.
Another officer transported Hunt without incident. He was not charged with a crime and the case was closed.