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New Mexico man facing charges after hostages freed

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man faced assault and other charges Monday after state police said he held more than a dozen people hostage inside a roadside pistachio store where he fled after exchanging gunfire with officers.

Kaleb Scroggins, 21, was arrested Sunday afternoon after a SWAT team went into the store near the small southern New Mexico city of Alamogordo and freed the 14 hostages. They were inside the store that sells products from a farm with 12,300 pistachio trees.

Police were seeking Scroggins in connection with an unrelated shooting early Sunday morning where the victim was shot three times but survived, state police spokesman Carl Christiansen said.

Officers saw his vehicle and chased it until Scroggins’ vehicle was broadsided by another vehicle when he pulled onto a state highway. He exchanged gunfire with officers before running into the store, authorities said.

Sheriffs’ deputies and state police negotiators tried to talk Scroggins into surrendering, but the SWAT team eventually went inside. He gave up after the hostages were freed. None of the hostages were injured, police said.

Scroggins was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, shooting at an occupied dwelling, fleeing from police and breaking and entering. Authorities said he has a lengthy arrest record.

He was being held in the Otero County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond. Officials said they did not have a listing for an attorney representing Scroggins, who was due in court next week on the charges.

Scroggins suffered minor injuries in the accident and was booked into jail following treatment.

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This story has been corrected to show the suspect’s first name is spelled Kaleb, not Caleb.

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