Socorro officer honored

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Belen Police Officer Martin Benavidez, a Socorro resident, was awarded a Medal of Commendation for the performance of his duties as a police office for his capture of a suspect who is accused of a double homicide of two Belen women, Stephanie Gonzales and her mother, Angela Romero.

Benavidez, when arriving on shift, was briefed of the situation and proceeded to patrol when a stolen vehicle was called out. Benavidez responded to the call, and when he came in contact with the vehicle, he noticed the driver was Matthew Chavez, the suspect wanted for the double homicide.

Benavidez tried to pull the suspect over, and at that point, Chavez accelerated to 100 mph.

The officer saw Chavez lose control of his vehicle, flipping over several times.

Benavidez apprehended Chavez, who was then airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital.

Benavidez is described by his superiors as a person who makes the extra effort.

A humble person, he believes in team work and that officers don’t get enough respect for the job they do.

Benavidez has worked in law enforcement for 11 years, and was named Officer of the Quarter and Officer of the Year in Belen.

He received a plaque and proclamations from the city of Belen.

Belen Police Chief Dan Robb, Belen Mayor Rudy Jaramillo and State Sen. Michael S. Sanchez awarded Benavidez with these honors.

Benavidez was promoted to detective earlier this month.

His wife, Lisa, said she is very proud of her husband and his accomplishments and stands by him through anything.