Man shot by deputy charged in connection to stabbing

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A 23-year-old Fort Sumner man shot Monday by a De Baca County Deputy has been charged in connection with the stabbing and pursuit that led up to the shooting.

Michael Christopher Fitschen, who remains hospitalized after being shot once in the abdomen, was charged Tuesday with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence, fleeing a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault on an officer, according to state police Capt. Jimmy Glascock.

A dispatcher for the De Baca County Sheriff’s Office said Monday night the investigation of the stabbing, pursuit and shooting is being handled by state police.

Fitschen, listed as serious but stable, is being treated for his injuries at University Medical Center in Lubbock.

Tuesday, police also identified the two De Baca County Sheriff’s Deputies involved in the pursuit and shooting.

Deputy Kurt Griego fired a single shot at Fitschen, striking him in the abdomen, Glascock said.

Glascock said Deputy Scott Conner deployed his Tazer toward Fitschen during the incident.

Connor was later transported to Plains Regional Medical Center, where he was evaluated for pain he was experiencing, stemming from taking Fitschen into custody, Glascock said.

He was released Monday following treatment.

The deputies began pursuing Fitschen after they said they spotted his vehicle which had been described as the suspect’s vehicle in a stabbing at a residence at Sumner Lake.

The stabbing victim, 39-year-old Michael Stiltner of Fort Sumner, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at PRMC.

Police said Monday Fitschen led deputies on a chase from U.S. 84 to U.S. 60/84, where he swerved to avoid a “stop stick” placed in the road by officers, and rolled his pickup truck.

When he exited his crashed vehicle, police have said he advanced on officers, refusing to comply with instructions to stop, and was shot by one Griego while Conner deployed his Tazer.

Glascock would not say if Fitschen had a weapon or if officers perceived that he had a weapon at the time of the shooting.

“At this point, because it’s under investigation, I can’t elaborate on those details,” he said.

He also declined to say if the weapon used in the stabbing had been located by police.

Glascock said the charge of aggravated assault on an officer stems from the chase, when Fitschen drove toward officers who were placing the stop stick in the roadway.

“His vehicle was driven in the officers’ direction, causing them to fear for their safety,” he said.

Glascock declined to comment on the basis for the charge of tampering with evidence, citing an ongoing investigation.

A section of U.S. 60/84 east of Melrose that was closed following the shooting, was reopened Tuesday morning after aerial photos were taken of the scene.

The scene of the stabbing is still being processed, Glascock said Tuesday.

Neither the De Baca County Sheriff’s Office nor the state police would answer questions on the duty status of the deputies.