Five Hobbs Police Department officers who ran toward gunfire, rendered life-saving emergency first aid to victims and nabbed a shooting suspect during at active-shooter scene were presented Police Meritorious Awards at Monday’s City Commission meeting.
One of the officers, Nicholas Pereyra, who applied a seal to a 39-year-old man who suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, was also awarded a Life-Saving Award. Pereyra, officer Nik Mann, officer Crystal Marin, officer Brandon Marinovich and detective sergeant Ahmaad White all received Police Meritorious Awards for their actions and a standing ovation from city leaders for their “brave and spectacular” conduct.
“I’m very proud of their actions and how they handled themselves in that situation,” Police Chief McCall told the Hobbs News-Sun. “We get reports of shots fired and things fairly routinely, and normally we’re responding to a 911 call or traveling to a location. It’s pretty rare that you’re right on top of the situation that’s unfolding and you’re literally running into the gunfire.”
The incident unfolded at about 4:28 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, when Hobbs police officers responded to gunshots in the 400 block of North Cochran Street. Officers who were already in the area on an unrelated call heard multiple gunshots and observed people fleeing the area.
Officers were directed to the 39-year-old Hobbs man who suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and back. Pereyra applied a chest seal to the victim as the victim lay at the corner of Cochran and Alston streets. After EMS arrived, the victim was taken to Lea Regional Medical Center and was later transported to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, in critical condition.
A 25-year-old Hobbs woman suffered a gunshot wound to both of her legs and was transported to Lea Regional Medical Center where she was treated and released.
A 22-year-old Hobbs woman suffered a gunshot wound to her hip while she was reportedly sleeping in a vehicle that was parked in the 400 block of North Cochran Street. She was treated and released from Lea Regional Medical Center.
Police said the initial investigation revealed that a verbal argument ensued between the 39-year-old man and another person as they were leaving a Halloween party at a home in the 400 block of North Cochran Street. Police said the argument turned physical and multiple shots were fired.
After setting up a perimeter, police located Ruben Flores, 18, of Hobbs, who was charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault for allegedly shooting at the 39-year-old man and pointing a firearm and shooting toward a 22-year-old Hobbs man.
“You don’t realize the kind of danger that they’re in every day of their lives,” said Mayor Sam Cobb. “The way they did it, the bravery they exhibited and the clear-headedness, that speaks volumes.”
McCall recounted the Oct. 28 event for city leaders Monday night. He said officers acted with bravery and quickness.
“While they were on an unrelated call, they heard gunfire coming from less than a block from their location,” McCall told city leaders. “These officers approached that location on foot, running toward the gunfire as it was occurring and some pretty brave and spectacular things began to occur.”
McCall said Marinovich dragged the 25-year-old Hobbs woman who suffered a gunshot wound to her legs to safety and applied tourniquets to both legs until EMS arrived. He and the other officers received a meritorious plaque and meritorious pin for “outstanding conduct involving exemplary courage, risk or danger to personal safety in the performance of his official duties.”
“That female subject later reached out to Officer Marinovich and thanked him for his efforts that night and appreciated him greatly,” McCall said.
McCall said Mann arrived at the scene in his patrol unit.
“He arrived on the block to locate chaos and people fleeing,” McCall said. “He initially stopped a vehicle on that scene that was attempting to flee. Later, from that vehicle, we located one of the suspects that had been firing that night, as well as one of the firearms used in the shooting. If it weren’t for his quick actions arriving on that scene and taking action immediately and alone on the end of the block that he was on, those subjects would likely have fled and we would not have been able to identify them and we likely would not have been able to recover that firearm.”
McCall said Mann located the victim with the gunshot wound to the chest, and Pereyra also arrived to render first aid.
“Both the Hobbs EMS as well as Lea Regional Medical Center staff both attribute Officer Pereyra’s actions to being potentially being life-saving,” McCall said.
McCall said White approached the scene on foot as shots were being fired and took command.
“There were several subjects coming and going and officers had not yet determined who the shooter was or how many shooters may have been involved,” McCall said. “He assisted in clearing many vehicles and searching for the suspect and assisted in taking overall command of the scene.”
McCall said Marin was one of the initial officers to approach the scene on foot while shots were being fired.
“She also assisted in detaining multiple involved parties, as well as clearing many of the vehicles and helping secure the scene as quickly as possible to create a safe environment there,” McCall said.
McCall said the incident was referred to the Hobbs Police Department’s Awards and Merits Board, which made the recommendations for the awards.
“Thank you guys for everything you do,” McCall told them.