Local Artist Hospitalized, Then Jailed
By Carlos Padilla
Officials with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department responded to a home along County Road A007 just after midnight Thursday, April 4, after a man tried breaking into the residence and was shot multiple times by the homeowner.
Loren Schmidt of Truth or Consequences is currently incarcerated at the Sierra County Detention Center, and has been charged with aggravated burglary, violating a restraining order, and interfering with communications.
Mr. Schmidt reportedly was armed with a Bowie hunting knife at least 10-inches in length, a horse halter with a long rope, and a cane whittled to a point “to do damage,” according to Deputy Chief Mike Apodaca of the sheriff’s department.
Schmidt reportedly severed the phone lines to the home and shut down the electricity before kicking in a side door into the residence.
Sierra County Sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Hamilton stated that, at the time of this latest incident, Mr. Schmidt was ordered by Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Matthew Reynolds to stay away from the homeowner, identified as Candy Potter, and her residence. Schmidt was also ordered to obey an 11 p.m. curfew as part of his conditions of release stemming from an incident that took place in July 2011.
The conditions of release and curfew were imposed after Schmidt reportedly choked Ms. Potter last year.
The two had reportedly been in court the previous week to readdress Mr. Schmidt’s conditions of release and curfew.
Schmidt, a well-known local artist, was set to appear in court in July. Instead, he appeared at Ms. Potter’s home in the dark of night, armed with the aforementioned weapons.
Early Thursday morning, Deputy Stewart Johnson and Corporal Paul Montoya responded to the residence, located in the shadows of Interstate 10, across the Cuchillo Negro Creek from County Road A007. Ms. Potter called 911 to report that she had shot Schmidt, who she had previously been in a long-term relationship with, after he broke into her home.
EMS personnel from Sierra Vista Hospital, Elephant Butte Fire & EMS, and Las Palomas Fire & EMS were requested to standby until law enforcement cleared the scene.
Ms. Potter reportedly was awoken shortly after midnight by noises outside of her home and her dog growling before hearing a loud noise at her door. She then armed herself with a .32 caliber pistol and tried making her way through her home in the dark after discovering the electricity was out.
Potter reportedly addressed the intruder, asking him why he was in her home, but got no answer.
Lt. Hamilton stated that is when she fired her first shot, striking a reflection of the intruder in a mirror inside her home. She then fired three more shots, hitting Mr. Schmidt once in the arm. Two other shots struck Schmidt vest buttons; the last two bullets failing to penetrate Schmidt’s skin.
Ms. Potter then grabbed a phone and made her way out of the home to call 911, but discovered that the phone did not work.
As Schmidt crawled out of the residence, Ms. Potter made her way back into the home, retrieved her cell phone and called authorities.
Schmidt was initially transported by ambulance to Sierra Vista Hospital and then flown to Thomason General Hospital in El Paso to be treated for his injuries to his arm and chest, which included a shattered bone in his arm. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Mr. Schmidt was released from Thomason on Saturday, May 6, and taken into custody.