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Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico

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An autopsy showed a Bernalillo man fatally shot himself in a van after leading police on an automobile chase and exchanging gunfire with them. Officers said the bullet retrieved from the body of John Salazar, 43, "was consistent with the weapon he had" and not those of firearms carried by officers. The chase began after a pueblo tribal officer saw the van speeding through town shortly before 1 a.m. May 21 with its headlights off. He contacted Bernalillo police and was joined by Sandoval County Sheriff's deputies. A deputy pulled in behind the van in the driveway of Salazar's home, and was "met by gunfire," Sheriff Ray Rivera said. The deputy took cover and returned fire. After things were quiet, Rivera said officers heard a single gunshot from inside the van. Salazar was pronounced dead in the van that crashed into a chain-link fence outside his home. A semiautomatic pistol was in his hand. State Police Sgt. Royleen Ross-Weaver said Salazar had been in state prisons on various charges for most of the last 20 years and was released about two months ago.

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