Las Cruces, NM – A New Mexico State Police Officer conducting a routine traffic stop was shot and killed on Thursday. New Mexico State Police Chief Robert Thorton said the officer, Darian Jarrott initiated a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet pickup truck on Interstate 10 eastbound, near mile marker 101 east of Deming, New Mexico. Thorton said the stop was part of a joint operation between the state police and the Department of Homeland Security.
“During the traffic stop, the driver identified as Omar Felix Cueva, 39, fired at least one shot at New Mexico State Police Officer Darian Jarrott. Officer Jarrott was struck and killed by gunfire,” Chief Thorton said. “An HSI agent arrived on scene and notified New Mexico State Police dispatch that an officer was down. A broadcast was put out to state and local law enforcement agencies. A New Mexico State Police officer located Cueva traveling east on Interstate 10 near mile marker 116. Cueva pulled over at the exit and fired at New Mexico State Police officers. The officers returned fire. A pursuit was initiated as Cueva continued to evade officers, traveling east on Interstate 10.”
Thorton was not immediately aware of Cueva’s nationality or country of origin during a press conference held last night.
According to a release issued by the New Mexico State Police, during the pursuit, other State Police officers successfully utilized tire deflation devices near the Picacho exit on Interstate 10 and near milepost 135 by Las Cruces, NM.
Chief Thorton said Cueva continued to flee east on Interstate 10. At that time officers from the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD), the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office (DASO), a U.S. Border Patrol agent (USBP) assisted New Mexico State Police with the pursuit.
“An LCPD Officer utilized a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver near milepost 140. As the pickup came to a stop, Cueva exited the vehicle armed with a firearm and shot multiple rounds towards the officers and deputies. Officers from LCPD, NMSP, DASO, and USBP returned fire towards Cueva, who was struck at least once,” Thorton said. “Officers rendered aid to Cueva until emergency medical personnel arrived on scene. Cueva sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased on scene by the Office of Medical Investigator.”
In a shootout with Cueva, Thorton confirmed that one Las Cruces Police officer was struck by gunfire. The officer was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Texas where he was treated and released for injuries believed to be non-life threatening.
“This investigation is active and being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau The identities of the deputies, officers, and Border Patrol agent involved will not be released until all interviews are completed,” Thorton said. “The New Mexico State Police officers have been placed on standard leave. Please reach out to DASO, LCPD, and Border Patrol for administrative inquiries regarding their deputies and officers.”
Officer Darian Jarrott began his career as a Transportation Inspector with NMDPS. He was certified as a law enforcement officer in December of 2014 and worked with the former Motor Transportation Division of NMDPS. In July of 2015, he was sworn in as a New Mexico State Police officer where he bravely served until today. Officer Jarrott leaves behind 3 small children and was expecting his fourth child this year. Out of respect for Officer Jarrott, please refrain from contacting his family as they mourn the loss of our fallen hero.