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May 1, 2011

Drug-crazed NM patient hijacks ambulance

By Astrid Galvan
Albuquerque Journal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Christopher Halverson was shot with a bean bag three times and Tasered once before he carjacked an Albuquerque ambulance, crashed it and was found naked some time later, police said.

Albuquerque police allege Halverson, 27, was having a drug-induced psychotic episode when they arrived at his home on Candelaria near Fourth Street at 2 a.m. Friday.

"He was just running amok," spokesman Rob Gibbs said.

Halverson's father, Terrance, said he called police because he couldn't convince his son to come down from the roof of a neighbor's house, where he was standing naked and bleeding from cuts. He said his son was "not in his right mind" and was too incapacitated to harm anyone.

"I'm really upset with the police, the way they handled things. I was there the whole time and I tried to tell them, 'let me talk to him.' They wouldn't do it. He didn't know who I was, that's how bad off he was," the elder Halverson said.

By the time police arrived, Halverson had climbed down and was holding a piece of glass from a window he had broken, Gibbs said. Officers shot him with a bean bag gun to no effect. Soon, Halverson was trying to jump out of the broken window, he said.

Fearing he would injure himself, police Tasered and handcuffed him.

Although he was calming down by the time Albuquerque Ambulance arrived to transport him for a mental evaluation, police wanted him to stay handcuffed.

Ambulance personnel disagreed and asked police to take off the cuffs. Halverson was not restrained inside the ambulance. An Albuquerque Ambulance spokeswoman said ambulances are equipped with Velcro restraints for hands and ankles.

About a half-mile down the road, Halverson took control of the ambulance, leaving the driver and emergency medical technician on the street. The workers were not injured.

Gibbs said it wasn't clear how Halverson was able to force the two female workers out of the ambulance.

In control of the vehicle, Halverson drove through a barricade and crashed at Fourth Street and San Clemente NW. He had traveled less than a mile.

Police K-9 units were called out to search for Halverson, but they were unable to find him until about two hours later, when Halverson knocked on a stranger's door, still nude. That person called police.

Halverson, who has had several run-ins with the law, including a drug paraphernalia possession charge and DWI arrest, was taken to a hospital. He faces charges of carjacking and two counts of assault on a health care worker, Gibbs said.

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