NMSP: Officer killed while assisting with homeland security investigation

Crime

DEMING, N.M. (KRQE) – During a news conference, New Mexico State Police Chief Robert Thornton identified the officer killed in Thursday’s shooting as NMSP officer Darian Jarrott and described the events that transpired. The incident took place on Thursday, February 4, as officer Jarrott was assisting in a homeland security investigation in Deming where he was stationed.


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“It’s a huge loss to us and I want everybody to know I love each and every one of our officers that go out there everyday,” said Chief Thornton. “Officer Darian Jarrott went out there today and was serving his state, his community the best way he knew how and I love him for that. And everyone that’s here loves him for that.”

Jarrott initiated a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet pickup truck on I-10 eastbound near mile marker 101 which is east of Deming. According to NMSP, the driver of the truck, identified as 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva, fired at least one shot at Jarrott killing him.

A homeland security investigation agent arrived at the scene, notifying New Mexico dispatch that an officer was down and a broadcast was put out to local state law enforcement agencies. A NMSP officer located Cueva traveling east on I-10 near mile marker 116 where authorities say Cueva pulled over at the exit and fired at officers.

The officers returned fire and a pursuit began as police say Cueva continued to evade officers and travel east on I-10. “During the pursuit, other New Mexico State Police officers successfully utilized tire deflation devices near the Picacho exit on Interstate 10 near mile post 135 by Las Cruces, New Mexico,” said Chief Thornton.


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As Cueva continued to flee from officers, NMSP reports that officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and a U.S. Border Patrol agent assisted NMSP with the pursuit. Authorities say an LCPD officer used a PIT maneuver near mile post 140 and the pickup truck came to a stop.

Thornton says that Cueva then exited the vehicle and fired additional shots at officers and deputies at the scene. Officers and deputies fired shots at Cueva who police say was struck at least once.

Officers rendered aid to Cueva until emergency medical service personnel arrived however, police say his injuries were fatal and he was pronounced dead at the scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator. Once LCPD officer was struck by gunfire sustaining non-life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Texas where he was treated and released.

NMSP report that this investigation remains active and is led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. The identities of the deputies, officers, and Border Patrol agent involved in the incident will not be released until interviews are completed.

The New Mexico State Police officers have been placed on standard leave.

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

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