By Robert Trapp
At least 15 New Mexico State Police officers, serving in several different capacities responded Dec. 28, 2020 to an Ohkay Owingeh woman’s E-911 call that she was being held hostage by her nephew Shaun Bird (with five aliases and spellings).
Bird ran from his aunt’s house and a standoff at Bird’s mother’s house, ended with federal agencies arriving and ordering State Police to stand down.
Bird was allegedly holding his mother hostage at her home on County Road 57 in Ohkay Owingeh. However, numerous incident reports place her outside the house, talking with State Police.
One of the many incident reports provided by State Police states Bird was also wanted for a probation violation warrant for attempted murder, and from a separate incident, felon in possession of a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
According to online court searches, Bird has no previous pending cases against him and no charges resulting from the Dec. 28 incident.
State Police Sgt. Jonathan Wright was the command leader at 4:30 p.m. for the incident and coordinated with Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Police, which requested State Police support.
“I had received written authorization from the Tribal Governor allowing us to operate on tribal land. At this time I activated the Tactical Team,” Wright wrote.
Activating the Tactical Team involved bringing patrolmen and sergeants from outside District 7, the district in which Ohkay Owingeh lies. As the officers arrived, they were briefed and given assignments.
Patrolman Lawrence Maggard states in his report when he arrived at about 4:30 p.m. he was told there was no hostage but Bird refused to come out of his mother’s house. Maggard wrote he took a position by the house that helped create a perimeter.
Patrolman David Bentley wrote he was told Bird had a .357 caliber handgun and had pointed it at a different family member than his mother. He then retreated to his mother’s house.
He was assigned to the opposite side of the house. He got into his “entry equipment,” and took up position.
“Public announcements were on-going throughout advising Mr. Bird to exit the residence,” Bentley wrote.
Patrolman Justin Esquibel wrote in his report when he arrived, he and Patrolman Alfredo Moya put on their entry equipment and also took up positions by the house.
Patrolman Felix Ortegon briefed Esquibel telling him Bird’s mother had told State Police Bird had threatened to kill himself, Esquibel wrote.
Patrolman Daniel Sedillos wrote a similar description of the situation and took up a perimeter position.
Eventually enough Tactical Team members arrived that regular patrol staff were released to return to their regular duties.
Patrolman Dominick Meadows was assigned to transport the Bearcat, a remote vehicle used to transport law enforcement into the house safely.
“I was instructed that I would move the Bearcat up to the residence to provide armored cover,” Meadows wrote. “Inside the Bearcat would be members of NMSP Bomb team and one TEMS (Tactical medics) medical personnel.”
There are very similar reports from at least seven other officers. Four other officers are named as being on scene, either taking up positions or working from a command post.
Very soon after the perimeter was set and the Bearcat was in place, Bureau of Indian Affairs and FBI personnel arrived on scene and told Wright that State Police did not have authority to operate on Ohkay Owingeh. The team broke down all of the their equipment and left.
Patrolman Thomas McClelland is part of the Crisis Negotiation Team and was on the scene at the standoff. Prior to the standoff he spoke with one of Bird’s friends Samuel Garcia.
Garcia told McClelland that he had seen Bird twice the previous day (Dec.27).
“The first visit he was invited in and peaceful,” McClelland wrote. “On the second visit, Shaun just came into the residence with erratic behavior. Samuel observed blood on him and visually feared behavior.”
Garcia told McClelland that Bird was speaking about his girlfriend in the past tense. Fearing for the girlfriend’s safety, McClelland contacted an analyst who went to the girlfriend’s house in Albuquerque.
“No one answered the door and the expectancy of the concern for (the girlfriend’s) life a window was broken to make entry into the residence,” McClelland wrote.
For information about the entry into the woman’s home, McClelland refers to another report, which was not provided by State Police.
The woman was not home.
McClleland then initiated for the call out to Ohkay Owingeh.