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Video, new details released in fatal shooting of NM state trooper

Officer Darian Jarrott was shot in the head at close range during a traffic stop, video shows

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New Mexico State Police Officer Darian Jarrott was killed in the line of duty Feb. 4, 2021.

The video below contains footage that shows portions of a fatal traffic stop that resulted in the death of the responding officer. As such, be advised that this footage may be upsetting to some viewers.

The decision to run news like the below is not one we take lightly, and we do so because we believe it has value to our law enforcement audience in capturing the sort of situation law enforcers hope never to face. We feel it is important even as it is difficult to observe.

The death of a police officer is felt by the entire LE community and can take a heavy toll. Take a look at our articles on how critical incident stress debriefing teams help cops in crisis, how to safeguard your mental wellness and preparing your agency to handle an LODD.

By Matthew Reisen
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State Police released details and video footage on Friday of the February slaying of Officer Darian Jarrott along Interstate 10 in southern New Mexico.

The 28-year-old Lordsburg native, a father of three, was fatally shot just after noon on Feb. 4 during a traffic stop along I-10.

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Officer Darian Jarrott was killed in the line of duty Feb. 4, 2021.

New Mexico State Police

Authorities say the man who shot him, 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva, was killed in a gunfight with authorities in Las Cruces soon after.

Jarrott was the first New Mexico State Police officer shot and killed in the line of duty in over 30 years.

Up until Friday, authorities had not released many details into the events surrounding Jarrott’s death as the investigation was ongoing.

State Police spokesman Ray Wilson said Jarrott stopped a white pickup on eastbound I-10 east of Deming. He said Jarrott asked the driver, Cueva, to exit the truck.

Cueva got out with an AR-15 rifle and fired at Jarrott “at least once” as Jarrott walked to the back of the truck. Wilson said Jarrott ducked and fell onto his back before Cueva ran up to him and fired several more times, killing him.

He said before Cueva fled he shot Jarrott “point-blank” in the back of the head. Wilson said a Homeland Security Investigations agent, who Jarrot had been working with when he made the traffic stop, arrived and notified State Police that an officer was down.

He said State Police officers Lionel Palomares and Sonny Montes caught up to Cueva headed east on I-10 and Cueva pulled over and fired at the officers. Wilson said both officers fired back at Cueva who got back into the truck and continued east.

He said, soon after, authorities with the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Border Patrol jumped into the pursuit. Wilson said State Police used spike strips on the truck near the Picacho exit on I-10, but Cueva continued to flee.

He said “various law enforcement officers” fired at Cueva as he fled, including DASO Deputy Jerod Huston, DASO Deputy John Signore, USBP Agent Oscar Delgado. Wilson said LCPD Officer Adrian De La Garza used a PIT maneuver and, before the truck came to a stop, Cueva got out and fired multiple rounds at authorities.

He said LCPD Officer Adrian De La Garza and DASO Deputies Diego Herrera and Obed Marte returned fire and Cueva was struck several times by gunfire. Wilson said, in the gunfight, Officer De La Garza was struck by gunfire and airlifted to a hospital in Texas where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

He said Cueva was pronounced dead at the scene.

(c)2021 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)