Newly released information on the killing of a New Mexico State Police Officer during a Feb. 4 traffic stop indicates he was caught by surprise when a man who’d agreed to temporarily surrender a rifle instead opened fire.
On February 4 New Mexico State Police officer Darian Jarrott initiated a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet pickup on Interstate 10 eastbound, near mile marker 102 east of Deming, New Mexico.
During the traffic stop, Jarrott asked the driver, identified as 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva 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 officer Jarrott as he was walking to the rear of the vehicle.
Officer Jarrott ducked and fell onto his back as Cueva ran around the back of the pickup toward officer Jarrott.
Cueva fired several more rounds at Jarrott who was struck by gunfire and killed.
As Cueva ran toward the front of the truck on the passenger’s side, he shot Jarrott point-blank in the back of the head.
A Homeland Security Investigations agent arrived on the scene and notified New Mexico State Police dispatch that an officer was down. New Mexico State Police Officers Lionel Palomares and Sonny Montes located Cueva driving 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.
As Cueva fled eastbound on I-10, law enforcement officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Border Patrol assisted New Mexico State Police with the pursuit.
Near the Picacho exit on I- 10 NMSP officers successfully utilized tire deflation devices on Cueva’s pickup. Cueva continued to flee east on I-10. Various law enforcement officers engaged Cueva in gunfire as he fled.
DASO Deputy Jerod Huston fired rounds from his department-issued rifle near 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 Officer Adrian De La Garza then utilized a Pursuit Intervention Technique 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 towards the officers and deputies.
LCPD Officer Adrian De La Garza and DASO Deputies Diego Herrera and Obed Marte returned fire towards Cueva, who was struck several times by gunfire.
Officer 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 the scene. Cueva sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene.
“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.”
Warning the video is graphic.