New Mexico State Police Officer killed during traffic stop on I-10 in Luna County

New Mexico

Officer Darian Jarrott

LUNA COUNTY, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — New Mexico State Police Officer Darian Jarrott was killed during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Luna County in February, NMSP said.

Authorities said on February 4, 2021, Officer Jarrott asked Omar Felix Cueva, 39, of Deming to exit the vehicle during a traffic stop. Cueva then exited the driver’s side with an AR-15 rifle and fired at least one shot at Officer Jarrott as he walking to the rear of the vehicle.

NMSP officials said Officer Jarrott ducked and fell onto his back as Cueva ran to the back of the pickup toward Officer Jarrott. Cueva then fired several shots at Officer Jarrott who was fatally wounded. As Cueva ran toward the front of the truck on the passenger’s side, he shot Officer Jarrott point-blank in the back of the head.

A Homeland Security Investigations agent arrived on scene shortly after, and notified NMSP dispatch that an officer was down. Authorities said two NMSP officers spotted Cueva traveling east on I-10 near mile marker 116, and Cueva pulled over and fired at them. The officers returned fire, and Cueva continued traveling east on I-10.

Several law enforcement agencies then joined the pursuit of Cueva, including the U.S. Border Patrol. Authorities said NMSP officers successfully deflated the tires on Cueva’s pickup with tire deflation devices, and several officers fired shots at Cueva as he continued to flee.

Authorities were able to stop the pursuit near mile marker 140, where Cueva exited the truck and shot multiple rounds towards officers. NMSP officials said officers returned fire, and Cueva was struck several times and sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead on the scene by the Albuquerque-based Office of the Medical Investigator.

A Las Cruces Police Department officer was injured by gunfire and was airlifted to a hospital in Texas, where he was treated and released with non-life-threatening injuries.

“We appreciate the public’s support during this difficult time,” said Robert Thornton Chief of the New Mexico State Police. “We will honor Officer Jarrott’s sacrifice by continuing to serve and protect the citizens of New Mexico.”

NMSP said Officer Darian Jarrott began his career as a Transportation Inspector with NMDPS, where he was certified as a law enforcement officer in December of 2014 and worked with the former Motor Transportation Division of NMDPS. He was sworn in as a NMSP officer in July of 2015. Officer Jarrott leaves behind three small children and was expecting his fourth child this year.

This is a developing story. Stay with MyHighPlains.com for the latest.


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