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NM animal control dispute sparks SWAT standoff

Incident began when a neighbor reported to the city Animal Services Division that one of the suspect's dogs had been aggressive

By Chris Quintana
The Santa Fe New Mexican

SANTA FE, N.M. — A SWAT situation ended without injuries late Wednesday night after a man barricaded himself in a central Santa Fe home following an alleged threat on an animal control officer.

Santa Fe Police Department spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said Stephen Cummings, 36, had locked himself in the mobile home on Calle Anaya at about 8:30 p.m. and was shouting at officers for nearly two hours. At about 10:15 p.m., he exited the residence with his hands up. Officers arrested Cummings without incident on a charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer.

Cummings' troubles had begun earlier in the day, when a neighbor reported to the city Animal Services Division that one of his Rottweilers had been aggressive. An animal control officer responded to the complaint, Espinoza said, and Cummings allegedly threatened the officer with a knife.

The animal control officer called police, and when officers arrived at the scene, 804 S. Calle Anaya, at about 9 p.m, Cummings barricaded himself inside the home.

About a dozen police vehicles, including the city police SWAT van, crowded the 800 block of South Calle Anaya during the standoff.

Officers blocked off the residential streets, diverting motorists and pedestrians from the area. A shelter-in-place order was issued for four blocks surrounding the home, and officers sent out a text alert warning residents of the situation.

SWAT officers in heavy armor and carrying assault rifles circled the home, repeatedly demanding that Cummings come out. One officer shouted via a loudspeaker that the home was surrounded, and Cummings shouted back frenzied and unintelligible words.

At about 10 p.m., however, he stuck his head out a window, and the incident ended several minutes later with Cummings' arrest.

Police reopened the streets at about 10:30 p.m.

Randy Lucero, who lives a block away on North Calle Anaya, said he had heard gunshots in the neighborhood the previous night. It's unclear if the events are related, but Lucero said the recent activity had put him and his family members on edge.

According to Santa Fe County jail records, Cummings was previously arrested on charges of resisting arrest and arson in 2011. No new information was available late Wednesday night.

Copyright 2014 The Santa Fe New Mexican 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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