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Tucumcari man faces 4 federal charges after using bear spray on victims and assault on police officer

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:11 PM CST
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TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KFDA) - Tucumcari police have arrested a man after spraying two people with bear spray and assaulting a police officer last week.

According to The Eastern new Mexico News, 52-year-old Frank Christopher Link was charges with aggravated battery upon a police officer, disarming a police officer and two counts of aggravated battery.

Three of the four charges are third-degree felonies, which result in three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

One was a fourth-degree felony, which can result in 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

A prosecutor, saying Link was a danger to the community, filed a motion he be held without bond until his case is adjudicated.

A hearing on the motion was scheduled for Nov. 23 in front of a District Judge.

Tucumcari police earlier this month issued a bulletin, asking for residents to be on the lookout for a man in a long black coat “spraying unsuspecting individuals and vehicles with what is believed to be bear spray.”

According to a criminal complaint, officers were sent about 7:15 p.m. Nov. 16, to near West Hancock Avenue about a bear-spray report.

A driver told an officer he and a woman from Grady were at First Street and Tucumcari Boulevard when a man drove by in a moped and sprayed bear spray on the side of his truck.

The driver followed the Link to West Hancock Avenue. There, Link sprayed the driver, ran around the back of an apartment building and got back on his moped.

As Link ran, he opened the passenger door of the truck and sprayed toward the woman inside.

The woman was hospitalized due to the attack, but her condition was not known, according to the motion.

Tucumcari Police Cpl. Martinez, found Link near the entrance of a West Tucumcari Boulevard motel and asked him whether he could see one of the sprays hanging from the man’s pockets.

“He began to reach into his pocket, grabbed a can of spray and handed it to Cpl. Martinez and suddenly threw a punch at Cpl. Martinez, striking him on the left side of the face,” the complaint stated.

According to the prosecutor’s motion, Martinez pulled out a Taser but didn’t use it because he thought it would be ineffective against Link’s layers of clothing.

Link grabbed the Taser out of Martinez’s hand, pointed it at the officer and pulled the trigger.

The Taser did not activate because it was not turned on.

Martinez tackled Link and knocked the Taser out of Link’s hand. Link began reaching for Martinez’s firearm but was able only to grab the officer’s extra magazines.

Martinez and a passerby subdued Link, and the suspect was placed in hand restraints.

Deputy District Attorney Heidi Adams argued in her pretrial detention motion that Link was a danger to the community.

“There have been numerous attacks on unsuspecting citizens in Tucumcari, New Mexico, recently sending several residents to the hospital after being sprayed with bear spray,” Adams wrote. “Further, fighting with law enforcement and attempting to disarm an officer is not only causing potential danger to the officer but to the community at large. But for the quick actions of a private citizen, Corporal Martinez could have been further injured by the defendant’s conduct.”

Link remained in custody of the Quay County Detention Center.

He made his first appearance in magistrate court Wednesday, where a Judge found probable cause for the charges.

Link’s case was transferred to district court a day later.

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