Peaceful end to standoff

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Suspect facing multiple felonies

By Martin Salazar

A tense, hours-long standoff between police and an armed man who barricaded himself in his Douglas Avenue apartment early Friday morning ended peacefully with the man’s surrender.


The man, Roland Romero Jr., 27, who resides at an apartment at 1020 Douglas Avenue, had allegedly struck a woman in the face with a handgun and then threatened to kill her while he and others were “partying” on the 900 block of South Pacific earlier in the night. Romero was given a ride back to his residence, but when police showed up there, he refused to surrender.

That prompted a massive police presence outside the apartment near the post office. While Las Vegas police took the lead, officers from Highlands University, state police and San Miguel County Sheriff Benjie Vigil were also helping out.

Las Vegas Police Chief Christian Montaño said officers were finally able to negotiate Romero’s surrender a little before 10:30 a.m. on Friday, several hours after the standoff began.

Officers executed a search warrant on the apartment and found a Beretta 40 caliber handgun inside a beverage cooler in the back yard.

Romero was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony and with several fourth-degree felonies: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon. A misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon was also filed against Romero.

Police affidavits state that Romero also had an outstanding warrant for battery on a household member, assault on a household member, criminal damage to property of a household member and interference with communications stemming from a previous case.

Romero was being held at the San Miguel County Detention Center.

Affidavits filed Friday in San Miguel County Magistrate Court identify the victim in the most recent case as Danielle Abeyta. Police say she was taken to Alta Vista Regional Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries.

After pistol-whipping Abeyta, Romero pointed the gun at her and racked back the slide of the firearm, according to the affidavits.

The woman told police that Romero then threatened to kill her. She said a man who was with them confronted Romero and called police.

Abeyta told investigators that prior to Romero assaulting her, he shot the gun in the air twice. She said Romero didn’t threaten or use the gun on anyone at that point.

Court documents don’t specify whether Romero and Abeyta had any connection other than being at the same party. The affidavits also don’t specify whether there was a specific incident that led to the assault.

After surrendering, Romero was taken to the Las Vegas Police Department and interviewed. Romero denied owning a gun “but did say he was partying with some girls that night,” the affidavit states. Las Vegas police investigators Steve Pacheco notes in the affidavit that Romero was covered in what appeared to be soot from the chimney and that Romero said he got dirty from hiding in the basement.

Officials at Highlands University alerted members of the campus community about the situation because of the proximity to the campus.

Highlands Police Chief Donato Sena told regents and administrators during a Friday morning regents meeting that a Highlands officer spotted the suspect’s vehicle and alerted city police.