Taos woman wounded in officer-involved shooting at Fred Baca Park


Update: Aug. 29, 5:30 p.m. According to a family member, shooting victim Elizabeth Maestas is in "stable condition." New Mexico State Police is investigating the incident and provided more details in a statement.

One person was wounded during an officer-involved shooting at Fred Baca Park in Taos Monday afternoon (Aug. 28).

Interim Taos Police Chief David Maggio confirmed the shooting at 3 p.m. "One person has been wounded and a second was taken into custody," he said.

Maggio said that one of his officers fired the bullet that struck and critically wounded Elizabeth Maestas, 20, as officers attempted to serve a warrant on Requildo E. Cardenas, 36, who was wanted on a Taos District Court bench warrant for failure to appear on an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Police took Cardenas into custody following the shooting.

Maggio stated that Taos County Adult Probation and Corrections Department officers believed they had been tracking a parole absconder, Jude Salazar, thought to be driving a teal-colored vehicle the officers were following Monday afternoon.

When the vehicle, a teal Saturn, pulled into Fred Baca Park around 2 p.m., the parole officers approached and looked through the windshield, noting that Salazar was not in the vehicle. Instead, they identified another wanted man behind the wheel of the vehicle, Cardenas, alongside Maestas, who sat in the passenger seat.

The parole officers called in support from Taos Police Department, which dispatched one officer, whose identity has not yet been confirmed.

The officer ordered Cardenas to show his hands, which the suspect allegedly ignroed, according to a press release from the New Mexico State Police who investigated the incident. The parole officer allegedly attempted to get Maestas out of the passenger side of the vehicle.

According to a statement released Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 29) by State Police: "Cardenas suddenly began reversing his vehicle at a high rate of speed and backed into another vehicle behind him. Cardenas rapidly drove forward toward the officers, striking the APPO vehicle. As the vehicle lunged forward, Cardenas nearly ran over an APPO officer attempting to get out of the way. The officer had to take evasive action and jump out of the way, falling to the ground."

The still unidentified Taos Police officer fired one shot into the Saturn to stop Cardenas. The round struck Maestas in the lower abdomen.

Maggio stated that he did not know whether Cardenas or Maestas were armed during the event and declined to provide further comment as the shooting remains under investigation.

New Mexico State Police and Taos County sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene to provide support and took witness statements from visitors at the park as members of Taos Volunteer Fire Department blockaded the intersections along Camino del Medio.

An ambulance transported Maestas to Holy Cross Hospital, where she would be stabilized and flown to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. "She is in critical condition," Maggio said.

New Mexico State Police are investigating the incident. Taos Police Department will conduct a separate interdepartmental investigation. The names of the officers involved will not be released until interviews are completed, according to State Police. 

As per standard protocol, the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately.

This is a developing story and will be updated as information is available.