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Press Release

Los Lunas Man Who Shot New Mexico State Police Officer in 2022 Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Offense

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

ALBUQUERQUE – 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 Caleb Elledge pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Elledge, 26, of Los Lunas, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Elledge on June 28, 2022. According to publicly available court records, on Feb. 11, 2022, New Mexico State Police (NMSP) Lt. Jeremy Vaughan was on duty when he pulled in the Mr. Gas Mart located at 1192 Highway 333 in Edgewood to service his vehicle. While in the parking lot, a Mr. Gas Mart employee approached Lr. Vaughan and informed him that there was a woman in distress in the bathroom and that she was possible using illegal narcotics. Lt. Vaugh called for backup. A short time later Lt. Vaughan observed the woman exit the gas station and enter the passenger side of a silver four-door sedan driven by Elledge. Lt. Vaughan approached the vehicle on the passenger side and knocked on the window. At that time, Elledge shifted the vehicle into reverse and accelerated, striking the front end of Lt. Vaughan’s vehicle, then fled from the gas station, striking another vehicle in the course. Lt. Vaughan returned to his vehicle and initiated pursuit.

Lt. Vaughan successfully utilized the pursuit intervention technique (a maneuver that involves intentional, vehicle-to-vehicle contact and consists of a pursuing officer applying lateral pressure with the front corner of their vehicle to the rear quarter panel of the fleeing suspect's vehicle, resulting in a predictable spin) on the sedan and the two cars came to a stop facing southbound with the passenger side of Elledge’s vehicle pinned to the passenger side of Lt. Vaughan’s unit. At that time, Elledge fired a gun into Lt. Vaughan’s unit, striking Lt. Vaughan on the left side of his neck. Lt. Vaughan exited his unit and exchanged gunfire with Elledge before Elledge and the female passenger fled the scene on foot.

Emergency medical services arrived on scene and transported Lt. Vaughan to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. Officers from multiple agencies arrived on scene and set up a perimeter designed to locate Elledge and the female passenger, but they were unsuccessful.

On Feb. 12, 2022, NMSP received a tip as to Elledge and the female passenger’s whereabouts in Macintosh, New Mexico. Agents from NMSP executed a search warrant on a residence located at 31 Juana Lane and Elledge and the female passenger were taken into custody. As he was escorted from the residence, Elledge apologized for shooting the officer. Inside the residence, agents located the handgun Elledge had used during the incident. As a previously convicted felon, Elledge knew that he could not possess a firearm and ammunition.

Lt. Vaughan and many of his colleagues from the New Mexico State Police were in the courtroom when Elledge entered his plea.

Per the terms of his plea agreement, Elledge agreed to be sentenced to 9 years in prison.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office, Edgewood Police Department, and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office assisted the New Mexico State Police with the investigation of this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Mysliwiec is prosecuting the case.

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Updated February 13, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-67