The trial for a murder suspect accused of also trying to kill three sheriff’s deputies during a high-speed chase near Roosevelt Lake last year continues this week.
Gabriel R. “Gaby” Jaramillo, 58, is charged with attempted first-degree murder of a police officer after reportedly either shooting at or trying to run down Gila County Sheriff’s Office deputies Thoreina Hensley, Thor Nudson and Sgt. John France.
In a lengthy report, more than a dozen officers offered accounts of the Aug. 25 high-speed chase from Globe to the lake, where Jaramillo fled into the desert. He hid for five days before surrendering.
Hensley wrote that she saw a muzzle flash and then heard a pop coming from Jaramillo’s truck as he passed her squad car. Nudson recounted the frightening moment he realized he was alone with Jaramillo on the Indian Point boat ramp, the other officers far behind. As Jaramillo sped toward him head-on Nudson fired three times through his own vehicle’s window in defense.
France’s report details the 20 to 25 rounds he fired at Jaramillo’s truck. Investigators believe those shots disabled Jaramillo’s truck, forcing him to flee into the desert.
The chase started in Globe when officers attempted to pull Jaramillo over for questioning. An Eagar police detective tracking Jaramillo recognized the stolen truck he was driving near the intersection of Miami Avenue and Live Oak Street.
The truck belonged to Steve Long, 47, of Eagar, whose body mushroom hunters had discovered in Apache County sometime earlier.
Jaramillo, who officers believed might have had an AK-47 assault rifle, was wanted in connection for Long’s death. He has been charged with that murder and related charges as well.
As Jaramillo pulled out of Dave’s Fast Stop in Globe, officers tried to pull him over. Jaramillo pulled into the bike lane as though he intended to stop but then sped off, according to the police report. Officers gave chase as Jaramillo quickly picked up speed, driving erratically through Globe-Miami traffic.
Speeds topped 100 mph as Jaramillo raced down Highway 188.
One deputy wrote that Jaramillo attempted to sideswipe him several times.
But nothing seemed to deter Jaramillo.
Even after striking a tree, crashing through a wash and drawing fire from officers, Jaramillo continued his desperate flight.
When Jaramillo reached the Indian Point boat ramp on the northeast side of the lake, he seemingly had nowhere else to run.
“It appeared the suspect and I were the only persons at the boat ramp,” Nudson said in the police report.
Jaramillo turned the Toyota Tundra around and drove head-on toward Nudson, who threw his patrol vehicle in reverse. He said that to protect himself he raised his gun in one hand and held the wheel with the other hand. As Jaramillo’s truck passed, Nudson fired three times.
Later, Hensley thought Jaramillo would kill her as he passed. She reported seeing a muzzle flash. She ducked and hit her head on her radio console.
France also recounted seeing a muzzle flash as Jaramillo passed. France said he fired upwards of 25 rounds at the truck. Later, detectives counted 17 bullet holes in the truck, two in the radiator.
Several days after Jaramillo fled into the desert, boaters discovered him on the north shore, thirsty and dirty.
Officers arrested him without incident. They never found any weapons. Long was reportedly killed with a .22-caliber bullet. A witness told police he had been with Jaramillo several days before Long was killed and Jaramillo had a .22-caliber long rifle on him, according to the police report.