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Police: Aztec, Farmington firefighters say they were threatened while responding to calls


Both defendants have been released from the county jail

Joshua Kellogg   | Farmington Daily Times
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  • Patrick Crouch, 31, of Aztec, is accused of a fourth-degree felony count of aggravated assault, according to the criminal complaint.
  • Salvador Mendez, 40, of Nageezi, is accused of three, third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault upon a health care worker, according to the criminal complaint.
  • As firefighters arrived on scene, Mendez allegedly pulled a knife out from a sheath on his right hip as he walked toward them.

FARMINGTON — First responders in San Juan County say they have been threatened by people with weapons in two separate cases.

Aztec firefighters told police a man pointed a rifle at them on June 19, while Farmington firefighters told police they had a knife pulled on them June 22 during a medical call.

Patrick Crouch, 31, of Aztec, is accused of a fourth-degree felony count of aggravated assault for allegedly confronting firefighters looking into a report there was a fire on his property, according to the criminal complaint.

Salvador Mendez, 40, of Nageezi, is accused of three, third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault upon a health care worker after allegedly pulling a knife on and approaching firefighters, according to the criminal complaint.

Neither defendant had legal representation on June 25.

Firefighters find armed man

Crouch is accused of pointing a rifle at Aztec firefighters on the night of June 19, according to court documents.

An Aztec Police Department officer was dispatched around 10:41 p.m. to the 600 block of Boone Circle on reports of an armed person. Firefighters who were called to the scene to investigate a reported fire said Crouch threatened to shoot them with his rifle, stating they were not allowed on his property, according to a court document.

After getting in their vehicle, the firefighters said they saw Crouch point something silver at them, holding the object like a gun.

They said they feared getting shot.

Crouch told the officer his land was private property and the firefighters were not allowed on his land, the court document stated, adding he'd had a fire every night in his yard for a week. The defendant said he had a right to defend his property but claimed he did not tell the firefighters he would shoot them.

A rifle was found in the backyard. Crouch was arrested.

He has been booked and released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

His preliminary hearing is set for July 2 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

Farmington firefighters say knife was pulled 

A Farmington Police Department officer was dispatched around 6:30 p.m. on June 22 to the area of Bloomfield Highway and Valentine Road after firefighters responding to a call for assistance said a man pulled a knife on them, according to the probable cause statement filed in the case.

Mendez was walking away from the scene when the officers showed up, a court document stated. He was detained and placed in the patrol vehicle.

The firefighters were dispatched to assist Mendez, a man who was not wearing a shirt and was possibly suffering from heat exhaustion, according to a court document.

As firefighters arrived on scene, Mendez allegedly pulled a knife out from a sheath on his right hip as he walked toward them.

The firefighters returned to their vehicles until a New Mexico State Police officer showed up.

Mendez shouted "obscenities" at the officer and refused to answer questions, according to the court document.

The knife was found on the side of the road and collected as evidence. A partially consumed bottle of vodka was found in the defendant's pants.

He has been booked and released from the county jail.

Mendez's preliminary hearing is set for July 1 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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