Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe Police Department (SFPD) Senior Police Officer Robert Duran died in the line of duty Wednesday after he was involved in a multi-vehicle crash while pursuing a kidnapping suspect.
The series of events leading to the 43-year-old officer’s death began at approximately 11:06 a.m. on March 2, when the SFPD received a report of an armed carjacking in progress at the Rancho Vizcaya Apartments, KOB reported.
Police were told a male with a knife stole a vehicle with a woman inside and drove off.
Officers spotted the stolen car within approximately 10 minutes and began chasing the driver near St. Francis Drive and Sawmill Road, KOB reported.
The suspect drove onto I-25 and started traveling northbound in the southbound lanes, according to police.
He made a U-turn between the Old Pecos Trail exit and the Eldorado exit and sped off into oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes, KOB reported.
A four-vehicle collision occurred near mile marker 285 involving the stolen vehicle, two SFPD units, and a civilian motorist, according to police.
Officer Duran and the civilian motorist were killed in the crash, KOB reported.
The motorist was later identified as 62-year-old retired Las Vegas Firefighter Frank Lovato.
The kidnapped victim and another SFPD officer were injured, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The kidnapping victim was treated at a hospital and has since been released, KOB reported.
The suspect fled the scene and remained on the loose Wednesday.
Officer Duran, a U.S. Army veteran, served the SFPD for seven years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He was assigned to the department’s Emergency Response Team and the Patrol Section.
“Officer Duran was well respected and loved by his peers,” the SFPD said in a press release. “We as a Department and as individuals are still grieving and processing his loss.”
Officer Duran leaves behind his wife and two teenaged sons.
“Our condolences are with the family of Robert Duran, and the family of the other driver, lost in today’s tragic crash,” the police department said. “We humbly ask everyone to please respect the family’s privacy at this time and allow them time to grieve.”
Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber described Officer Duran as “one of Santa Fe’s finest,” and said he was “a devoted police officer who gave his life in the line of duty in service to his community,” according to KOB.
This is Santa Fe Police Officer Robert Duran who gave his life today protecting his community. The person responsible for his death is still at large. The acting SF police chief says, “this is devastating for all of us.” pic.twitter.com/gEHG9PvJZ9
— Chris Ramirez (@KOBChrisRamirez) March 3, 2022
I am heartbroken by the death of courageous Santa Fe Police Officer Robert Duran while serving in the line of duty yesterday, as well as the tragic death of another motorist. My prayers are with the family and loved ones of Officer Duran, and the family of the other driver lost. pic.twitter.com/IFgCzMOcNa
— Lt. Governor Howie Morales (@LtGovMorales) March 3, 2022
Krysty and I join our entire community in praying for SF police officer Robert Duran and those who knew and loved him. Our law enforcement officers do an extraordinary and selfless job to protect our families and we are so grateful for their sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/yHIzbBYVLn
— Mark Ronchetti (@MarkRonchettiNM) March 3, 2022
RIP. Senior Police Officer Robert Duran was killed in a vehicle crash while pursuing a carjacking and abduction suspect. He is survived by his wife and two sons. #rip #hero #endofwatch #SeniorPoliceOfficerRobertDuran #SantaFePoliceDepartment #lawenforcement #thinblueline pic.twitter.com/nAkIE0G3fZ
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) March 3, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Santa Fe Police Department Senior Police Officer Robert Duran, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.