New Mexico State public safety officials have released disturbing patrol car dashcam video showing a violent February encounter during a traffic stop that claimed the life of a New Mexico State Police officer.
In the dashcam video, drug dealer is seen executing a cop during a routine traffic stop before he was shot dead in a hail of bullets after a 40-mile chase by other officers.
The shocking footage shows violent criminal Omar Felix Cueva, 39, stepping out of the driver’s side of his Chevrolet pick-up truck with an AR-15-style rifle before firing one shot at New Mexico officer Darrian Jarrott.
Jarrott had stopped Cueva, who police say had a ‘violent criminal history’ including drug charges involving cocaine and meth, on February 4 on the eastbound Interstate 10 between Deming and Las Cruces after noticing his windows were tinted.
After walking over to the passenger-side window of Cueva’s vehicle, the officer politely said to him: ‘Good afternoon, sir. My name is Darrian Jarrott. I’m with New Mexico State Police. The reason for the stop is your window tint is a little too dark.’
Cueva then mutters something that wasn’t clearly heard.
Jarrott, a father of three children whose partner was pregnant at the time of his death, says: ‘Yeah, mind if I open the door? Or if you want to roll down the window more.’
In a brief conversation lasting around three minutes, the officer asks if Cueva had insurance, to which he replies ‘yes’, and confirms his name, before asking him to come over to his patrol car so he could run checks.
As Cueva opens his door, Jarrott saw his rifle and asked, ‘You have a firearm on you, do you mind if I take that off you, for my own safety?’
The officer then says, ‘Let’s go to my vehicle OK’, at which point Cueva gets out from the driver’s seat holding the rifle – which Jarrott is unable to see because his view is blocked by the pick-up.
As both men slowly walk towards his patrol car, Cueva suddenly brings out the rifle, with Jarrott shouting ‘oh s***’ before being shot.
Jarrott, 28, fell to the ground, with Cueva walking over to him to shot him several more times, including once point-blank in the head before he took off in his truck.
Less than a minute after Cueva fled, a Homeland Security Investigations agent arrived on the scene and reportedly notified dispatch that Jarrott was down.
A 40-mile chase ensued, during which Cueva exchanged fire with officers from New Mexico State Police, the Cruces Police Department, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and US Border Patrol.
Tire deflation devices and other maneuvers were eventually used to force the fleeing vehicle off the highway, and there was a final exchange of gunfire in which Cueva was killed and surrounded by armed troopers aiming their weapons at him.
Las Cruces police officer Adrian De La Garza was wounded in the final shootout and was flown to the hospital by helicopter but his injuries were not life-threatening.
NMSP Chief Robert Thornton fought back tears at a press conference as he mourned officer Jarrott who he called ‘our fallen hero.’
Jarrott had been on the force since 2015 after working as a Transportation Inspector for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
The chief said Cueva was a man with a ‘violent criminal history that included drug trafficking and other felonies.’ He was first arrested at age 13 for vandalism, then for drug trafficking at 21, and possession with intent to distribute crystal meth at age 29.
Democrat New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered flags across the state to fly at half-mast following the tragedy in February.
‘I am shocked, heartbroken and enraged by the loss of this public servant. I am praying for the local officer who was also shot and injured,’ the governor said in a statement.
‘I am horrified as we grieve another life cut down, another family crushed by senseless violence in our state.
‘Violent crime is a scourge on New Mexico, and the men and women who step up and put on the badge to protect our communities fight it with everything they’ve got every day.’