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Gunman arrested near Sunland Park racetrack identified

By: Jamel Valencia, Ruben Veloz, Jesse Martinez and Melissa Gundersen
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - The man accused of threatening people with a gun has been identified.

Javier Armando Zapata-Galvan faces numerous charges after hiding at the stable area of the Sunland Park Racetrack Monday night, said Police Chief Jaime Reyes.

The SWAT situation started around 5:30 p.m. when Zapata-Galvan armed with a gun was reportedly near the barn area, said police.

Sunland park police and Dona Ana County responded and blocked off the area.

When a KFOX14 crew arrived, SWAT members armed with guns and a shield as well as sniper rifles and trained dogs had the area surrounded.

A Border Patrol helicopter was also circling the area with its spotlight on.

"It was such a large facility we went ahead and secured the area and made sure that nobody was going to be able to get in or out," said Reyes.

After several hours, the SWAT situation was called off around 9:45 p.m. However, minutes later, police swarmed an area near the stables, and they said they believe the gunman is still on the property.

Reyes told KFOX14 the suspect was able to run at least 75 yards from the area before police caught him.

"Because of the amount of officers that were still here he was actually captured by one of the Sheriff's departments swat team members and one of our police officers," said Reyes. "It was confirmed through eye witnesses that it was him and after speaking to him he showed us where the weapon was."

Police said they received conflicting information about whether the alleged gunman threatened people.

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino General Manager Rich Baugh said no one at the casino was hurt, and stayed open during the operation.

"The casino was not affected at all. It was just the barn area, this was a precaution taken by everyone to make sure that not only were all the humans safe but as well as the animals were safe also," said Baugh.

Reyes said Zapata-Galvan never fired his weapon but is now facing aggravated assault charges with a deadly weapon, criminal trespass, and resisting and evading a police officer.

Reyes told KFOX14 Zapata-Galvan had a black pistol which they were able to recover from the scene.