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Eddy County Tactical Team members gear up during this afternoon’s standoff on Dallas Avenue. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

The Eddy County Sheriff ’s Office was engaged in a multi-hour standoff Saturday with a local man after the man reportedly fired a shot at another individual.

The ECSO arrived at a residence at 5412 W. Dallas Ave. around 9:30 a.m. Saturday in response to a call of shots fired. The man at the center of the call entered the home soon after the authorities arrived and refused their commands to exit.

The Eddy County Tactical Team was called to the scene – at which the ECSO Detective Division, Carlsbad Police Department, and New Mexico State Police were also present – and the man finally exited the home around 3:30 p.m. and was placed under arrest.

The Daily Press spoke to two men who were present at the time of the initial shots fired incident Saturday; they say they’re fortunate the encounter resulted only in damage to a vehicle.

“He was definitely shooting at me,” said Shannon Johnson.

Johnson and his friend Patrick Morrison, both of whom were standing approximately 40 feet away from the male individual – whose name is not yet being released pending official confirmation – say the man pointed the gun at Johnson before firing. The shotgun blast ultimately struck Johnson’s personal pickup (pictured) around the area of the back passenger window.

(Courtesy Photo)

Johnson, Morrison and one other individual were standing on the other side of the truck at the time.

“He shot the one time and then backed into the house once the sheriffs showed up,” said Morrison. “He was yelling at them to get off his property as he was backing into the house.”

The confrontation stems, Johnson says, from his ongoing efforts to retrieve personal property located at the address.

He says he and his wife purchased the home from the man and had begun moving belongings onto the property in late January. The man had agreed to vacate the residence in March.

“Somewhere around mid-March, he decided not to move, and the next time my wife and I went out there, he pulled a gun on us and ran us off the property,” said Johnson.

Johnson says the man had previously agreed to the Johnsons transferring some of their belongings – which he says includes approximately $200,000 worth of tools and equipment, and approximately 14 vehicles – to the address ahead of his move-out date and had cleared vehicles out of a shop at the residence in order to accommodate their items.

Johnson says after the man began refusing to allow him to retrieve his property once he opted not to move, he obtained a lawyer and filed suit in Fifth Judicial District Court. He says after four-and-a-half to five months, the case was dismissed, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

“It turns out our lawyer filed the case under the wrong writ and would have to re-file, and that was going to take approximately $30,000,” said Johnson. “I didn’t have the money to go back to court, so I elected to just get my personal belongings I had out there and let the property go.”

Johnson says he asked if law enforcement could escort him onto the premises – including Saturday – but was informed the ECSO does not engage in civil stand-bys. He was told the issue was a civil matter and to obtain a court order, which he says he can’t afford.

“Everything that I’ve got to make any more money is stuck on that property,” Johnson said. “I’m a welder by trade, and he’s got all my welding equipment.”

Johnson says he finally contacted ECSO and asked if he was within his legal rights to enter the property and retrieve his belongings, provided he had all the appropriate documentation to prove the items were his.

“They said, ‘Yes, but we advise against it,’” he said. “Well, I need my personal possessions. I was told I was within my rights as long as I didn’t go into the residence. I could enter the property, the shop, and the barn, just not the house.”

He says he and around 14 other individuals arrived a little before 8 a.m. Saturday. About 45 minutes later, the man exited the home, armed, and ordered them to leave.

“I’ve said to him, I don’t want problems, I just want to get my stuff and go away and leave you alone,” said Johnson. “We were having a conversation, and I was telling him to put the gun down. He pointed it right at me and ended up shooting the side of my truck around the rear passenger door.”

The man was taken into custody and transported to Carlsbad, but the charges against him have not yet been released. Morrison and Johnson say they were advised he was back at his residence as of Saturday evening.

Additional details will be published as they become available. Calls placed to the number listed for the residence in question Saturday night were unanswered.

(Brienne Green – Daily Press)