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Press Release

Arizona man pleads guilty to attempted murder of a federal task force officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Robert Benjamin Nelson pled guilty to attempted murder of a federal task force officer and discharging a firearm during a federal crime of violence. Nelson, 31, of Scottsdale, Arizona, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement, on Sept. 12, 2020, a New Mexico State Police Officer, serving as a Task Force Officer with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), initiated a traffic enforcement stop on Nelson’s vehicle for following another vehicle too closely. After the vehicles were stopped, and as the officer approached Nelson’s vehicle from the passenger side, Nelson raised and fired a .22 caliber pistol three times at the officer through the window. The muzzle blast and initial round from the revolver shattered the passenger window, sending shards of  glass into the officer’s face and eyes.  The officer raised her hands to shield her face, and the second and third bullets struck her in the hands, causing serious and permanent injury. The officer fell to the ground, but immediately got back up and returned fire as the truck sped off.

The officer pursued and caught up with Nelson, still traveling west on I-40, and pulled him over again. The officer observed Nelson retrieve a rifle from the floorboard of his vehicle and waited for back up to arrive. Officers from the Laguna Pueblo arrived on scene and Nelson was arrested.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in our community,” said Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney. “Fulfilling that promise is our most urgent shared challenge. Every day, federal, state, and local law enforcement partners work to fulfill that responsibility. Their bravery and tireless dedication to our communal safety is an inspiration to us all.”

"By continuing to work together, we help keep our residents safe and send a message that crimes such as assaults against the brave men and women of the law enforcement community will not be tolerated," said Raul Bujanda, FBI Special Agent in Charge.

Per the plea agreement, Nelson faces between 10 and 30 years at sentencing.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case in conjunction with the New Mexico State Police and the Albuquerque Multiagency Officer Involved Shooting Team. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Mysliwiec and Nicholas Mote are prosecuting the case.

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Updated March 23, 2023

Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-55