Costilla man in custody after going on a rampage with tractor

Cimmarron Mathes

Mathes assaulted vehicle and set house on fire

COSTILLA COUNTY— A Costilla County man is in custody after a rampage Wednesday night, June 16, at a residence about 5 miles southwest of San Luis.

Cimmarron Mathes, approximately 30 years old, used a semi-truck and two tractors to ram numerous vehicles, including a Blanca police car with Police Chief Ricky Rodriguez and an officer inside, a shed and a house belonging to his father, causing partial collapse of both structures. Both Rodriguez and Blanca police officer Josh Sanchez sustained injuries but did not seek treatment at a hospital.

According to Costilla County Sheriff Danny Sanchez, his office received a report of a disturbance around 6:30 p.m. involving a man armed with a knife who was threatening family members. Deputies responded to the home belonging to Mathes’ father, located on County Road P, approximately 5 miles southwest of San Luis.

When CCSO deputies arrived on the scene, Mathes fled from the house, got into a tractor-trailer and used it to ram multiple vehicles owned by individuals on the property.

Sheriff Sanchez stated that Mathes then drove the tractor-trailer to adjoining property owned by his uncle where he stole a tractor. By that time, after receiving a call for “mutual assistance,” Blanca police arrived on the scene and joined the pursuit of Mathes.

Seeing a Blanca police car with both lights and siren engaged, Mathes then used the tractor he was driving to ram the patrol car on the passenger side, injuring both officers and rendering the car undrivable.

“If I hadn’t been able to back out of the way,” Chief Rodriguez said, “he would have hit us with that tractor head-on.”

Mathes, who, according to Sheriff Sanchez, “was also brandishing a knife at times,” then drove back to his father’s property, exited the first tractor, got into a second tractor with a front loader, and drove back to the Blanca police car, lifted it with the front loader and tossed it, causing it to flip multiple times before it came to a stop in a nearby ditch. Fortunately, both Blanca policemen had already exited the car.

Mathes turned the tractor around and headed back toward his father’s house.

By that time, Sheriff Sanchez had ordered deputies to evacuate everyone from inside and move them out of harm’s way.

Still using the tractor with the front loader, Mathes continued to ram vehicles and then a shed on the property, causing a partial collapse of the building. He then turned and rammed his father’s house, as well, causing part of the house to collapse.

“Somehow he then managed to turn the tractor on its side,” Sheriff Sanchez said. “I don’t know how he managed to do that, but he did.”

Sanchez said that Mathes then exited the tractor and fled into his father’s house where he barricaded himself inside. CCSO deputies ordered Mathes to come out of the house but he refused. At that time, Alamosa SWAT was contacted and arrived on the scene around midnight.

SWAT ordered Mathes to come out but again he refused. Unknown to law enforcement officials at the time, Mathes was attempting to set the inside of the house on fire but was unsuccessful. However, shortly after SWAT’s arrival, flames were seen coming through the roof.

At that point, Alamosa SWAT deployed tear gas into the house which drove Mathes from the building.

“By then,” Sanchez said, “the house was already starting to go up in flames.”

At approximately 1:30 a.m., Mathes was taken into custody and checked out by medical personnel on the scene. After being cleared, he was transported to Costilla County Jail.

Mathes is facing several charges of suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, first-degree arson, criminal mischief and theft of a vehicle. Other charges may be pending.

Sheriff Sanchez said that Mathes was already known to local law enforcement “but not to this extent.” He had a warrant out of Alamosa Police Department and two warrants in Costilla County, although the details of those warrants were not known before publication.

No gunshots were fired by law enforcement or Mathes during the incident.

Sheriff Sanchez and the Costilla County Sheriff Office extended thanks to the Blanca Police Department, the Alamosa Police Department, Alamosa SWAT, Manassa Police Department and Conejos County Sheriff’s Office for their response and assistance in this incident.

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