Update On Traffic Stop Where NMSP Officer Was Killed

Ofc. Darian Jarrott was laid to rest Feb. 12 during a private burial in Lordsburg.

NMSP News:

This update identifies the officers involved and gives additional details leading up to the shooting.

LUNA COUNTY – New Mexico State Police (NMSP) Ofc. Darian Jarrott initiated a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet pickup Feb. 4, on Interstate 10 eastbound, near mile marker 102 east of Deming.

During the traffic stop, Ofc. Jarrott asked the driver, identified as Omar Felix Cueva, 39, of Deming to exit the vehicle.

Cueva exited the driver’s side holding an AR-15 style rifle and fired at least one shot at Ofc. Jarrott as he was walking to the rear of the vehicle. Ofc. Jarrott ducked and fell onto his back as Cueva ran around the back of the pickup toward Ofc. Jarrott.

Cueva fired several more rounds at Ofc. Jarrott who was struck by the gunfire and killed. As Cueva ran toward the front of the truck on the passenger’s side, he shot Ofc. Jarrott point-blank in the back of the head.

A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent arrived on the scene and notified NMSP dispatch that an officer was down. A broadcast was put out to state and local law enforcement agencies.

NMSP officers Lionel Palomares and Sonny Montes located Cueva traveling east on Interstate 10 near mile marker 116. Cueva pulled over and fired at officers Palomares and Montes. The officers returned fire at Cueva who continued to evade officers, traveling east on Interstate 10.

As Cueva fled eastbound on Interstate 10, law enforcement officers from the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD), the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office (DASO), and U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) assisted NMSP with the pursuit.

Near the Picacho exit on Interstate 10, (near mile marker 135), NMSP officers successfully utilized tire deflation devices on Cueva’s pickup. Cueva continued to flee east on Interstate 10.

Various law enforcement officers engaged Cueva in gunfire as he fled. DASO Deputy Jerod Huston fired rounds from his department issued rifle near the mile marker 136. DASO Deputy John Signore fired at Cueva near the mile marker 138 eastbound.

Near mile marker 139, USBP Agent Oscar Delgado fired one round at Cueva as he passed. LCPD Ofc. Adrian De La Garza then utilized a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver near mile marker 140.

Prior to the pickup coming to a stop, Cueva exited the pickup armed with a firearm and shot multiple rounds toward the officers and deputies. LCPD Ofc. Adrian De La Garza and DASO deputies Diego Herrera and Obed Marte returned fire toward Cueva, who was struck several times by gunfire.

Ofc. De La Garza was struck by gunfire and was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Texas where he was treated and released for non-life-threatening injuries.

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.

This investigation is active and being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau.

The officers have the following years of service:

  • NMSP Ofc. Palomares – 8 years of service;
  • Ofc. Montes – 6 years of service;
  • LCPD Ofc. De La Garza – 17 years of service;
  • DASO Deputy Jared Huston – 16 years of service;
  • Deputy John Signore – 13 years of service;
  • Deputy Marte – 11 years of service;
  • Deputy Diego Herrera – 19 years of service; and
  • USBP Agent Delgado – 11 years of service.

The New Mexico State Police officers were placed on standard leave and have since returned to duty. 

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

Ofc. Jarrott began his career as a Transportation Inspector with New Mexico Department of Public Safety (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 the day of the shooting. Ofc. Jarrott leaves behind three small children and was expecting his fourth child this year.

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