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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico State Police officer is dead following a shooting in southern New Mexico Thursday afternoon. New Mexico State Police Chief Robert Thornton says it all started along I-10 near Deming where 28-year-old NMSP officer Darian Jarrott was shot and killed.

According to NMSP, Officer Jarrott was assisting a homeland security investigation when he pulled over 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva in a white Chevrolet pickup truck on I-10, east of Deming. During the traffic stop, Cueva fired a shot which struck and killed the officer. A Homeland Security agent arrived at the scene and notified NMSP that an officer was down. Officer Jarrott’s death prompted an almost 40-mile chase into Las Cruces where a shootout happened on I-10 killing the suspect.

During Thursday night’s news conference, Chief Thornton talked about the officer killed. “Officer Jarrott leaves behind three small children, and was expecting his fourth child this year,” said Thornton. Officer Jarrott began his career as a Transportation Inspector with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. He was sworn in as an NMSP officer in 2015.

“I was standing outside my house and I just heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. A bunch of gunshots,” said one witness in Las Cruces. A video posted on Instagram, shows the shooting in Las Cruces a white pickup truck was being pushed backward down I-10 by a single police unit.

Several other units followed close behind. The video then shows the suspect get out of the truck, walk straight up to the hood of the police cruiser and start firing. In the video, you can hear at least a dozen shots exchanged between the suspect and police.

“I was just hoping that it wasn’t anybody I knew, I mean of course I don’t want this to happen to anybody but I just hope it wasn’t somebody I knew,” said witness Nim Manriquez. Thursday afternoon, Sky News 13 captured a video of fellow officers escorting the body of the fallen officer away from the scene.

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima said one of his officers was also hurt and is heartbroken about the entire situation. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the New Mexico State Police officer who, unfortunately, lost his life earlier today. This is just a reminder just how dangerous law enforcement is and how we are very fortunate there are people who choose this calling to protect us,” Miyagishima said.

Map shows the stretch of I-10 where the NMSP shootings occurred Feb. 4, 2021. | NMRoads

Thursday afternoon, Gov. Lujan Grisham announced she will order all flags to half-staff in the state of New Mexico, beginning Friday, in mourning for the New Mexico State Police officer killed in the line of duty.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement:

“I am shocked, heartbroken and enraged by the loss of this public servant. I am praying for the local officer who was also shot and injured. We are still learning more about what happened and why, as law enforcement authorities continue to investigate, and we will all get the facts about what happened today. But what we know right now is a New Mexico law enforcement officer has been killed in the line of duty and I am horrified as we grieve another life cut down, another family crushed by senseless violence in our state. Violent crime is a scourge on New Mexico, and the men and women who step up and put on the badge to protect our communities fight it with everything they’ve got every day. We are and must remain grateful for their heroic service every single day – and moments like this remind us why. The New Mexico State Police put their lives on the line to help keep us safe. I join all New Mexico and the New Mexico State Police community in grieving this senseless, heinous loss.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham