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Man who died after standoff with NM cops had assault rifle, 'homemade bombs'

New Mexico State Police

Rex Michael Sherwood

A fugitive who spent five days on the run in New Mexico before dying in a weekend shootout with police left behind a vehicle containing explosives and questions about his possible links to anti-government groups, according to local authorities and published reports.

Rex Michael Sherwood, 48, was found dead Sunday in a gas station in Dulce, N.M., on the Jicarilla Apache reservation, after a gunfight with police.

It was Sherwood’s second violent confrontation with local law enforcement in a week, said Jake Arnold, a spokesman for the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office. On July 10, he exchanged gunfire with tribal police who pulled him over for failing to use his turn signal. After leading the officers on a 10-mile chase, he abandoned his Ford delivery truck and fled into the woods, Arnold said.

Sherwood resurfaced early Sunday, according to local news reports, when tribal police responding to a reported break-in at a Dulce gas station and convenience store came under fire from inside. After a lengthy standoff, during which the tribal officers were joined by state police, FBI agents and officers from other local agencies, a remote-controlled robot entered the building and detected the body of a single gunman lying on the floor.


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The state medical examiner identified Sherwood through fingerprints. A statement Tuesday by the Jicarilla Apache Nation on Tuesday said that he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound from the AK-47 assault rifle he was carrying.

KRQE-TV of Albuquerque quoted unidentified sources as saying that Sherwood was a computer expert with extreme anti-government opinions.

It also quoted the sources as saying that “homemade bombs” were found in the back of the truck he abandoned.

Arnold, the sheriff’s department spokesman, confirmed that explosives were found in the vehicle and said that Sherwood was wearing a T-shirt bearing the name of a right-wing militia group when he died.

Frank Fisher, a spokesman with the Albuquerque FBI office, declined to discuss any details of the case. In a statement, the bureau asked anyone with information on the case to phone 505 889-1300

Jicarilla tribal police and a New Mexico state police spokesman did not immediately return calls seeking comment. 

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