Albuquerque police on Thursday identified the officer who was shot during a traffic stop as a former Army paratrooper and nine-year veteran of the department.
Officer Daniel Webster was shot several times after pulling over a motorcycle for an allegedly stolen license plate at around 7:45 p.m. (9:45 p.m. ET) Wednesday.
Webster remained in critical but stable condition Thursday, Albuquerque police said. Police said he is a highly decorated officer and was named Uniformed Officer of the Year in 2013.
"For every single breath he takes, he’s fighting right now," Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden, Jr. told reporters. Webster was shot several times, including in the face near his chin, authorities said.
The alleged shooter, Davon Lymon, 34, has been charged with a federal count of possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
State charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery on a police officer with a deadly weapon will also be filed, Albuquerque police spokesman Officer Tanner Tixier said.
Lymon in 2002 pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the killing of a 20-year-old man in 2001, and was sentenced to 11 ½ years in prison with credit for 390 days already served, according to court records.
Lymon was released on parole in 2011, he violated his parole and was sent back to prison, and was released in 2013, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Corrections Department said.
On Thursday, Eden criticized what he called "turnstile justice" and said the state needs stricter laws to keep repeat violent offenders off the streets.
Eden also referenced the road-rage killing of a 4-year-old on an interstate on Tuesday, which was allegedly carried out by a suspect with prior violent felony arrests between 2006 and 2014, but no convictions.
"I think the two incidents that happened in the last two days — If we had a criminal justice system that wasn’t turnstile justice, we would not have a dead 4-year-old, and we would not have an officer struggling to take every single breath that he’s attempting to take," Eden said.
Webster pulled over Lymon’s motorcycle for an allegedly stolen license plate in a Walgreens parking lot, and had handcuffed Lymon’s left wrist when Lymon complained his right shoulder was hurting, according to the criminal complaint.
As the officer reached forward to attach the other handcuff to the motorcycle handlebar, Lymon pulled out a handgun and started shooting, the complaint says, and then fled on foot.
More than 100 law enforcement officers scoured the neighborhood for the gunman, and residents were warned to lock their doors.
Lymon was found hiding in a shed two blocks away from the scene of the shooting, and officers sent police dogs after him, according to the criminal complaint. A Taurus handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was found in an empty lot, authorities said.
Lymon was still being treated at a hospital Thursday for injuries he suffered during the arrest, Albuquerque police said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico said they will prosecute Lymon under a federal initiative designed to target repeat violent offenders.
Eden said a Veterans Affairs hospital nurse, who he only knows as “Rose,” was in a Starbucks near the scene of the shooting and rushed over to provide CPR to the officer.
"It’s that immediate action by somebody who knew CPR, who decided that they were going to make a difference that helped Dan survive," Eden said.
"Rose, we don’t know who you are but we love you," Eden said.