DEMING, New Mexico — State public safety officials released disturbing patrol car dashcam video Friday evening showing a violent February encounter during a traffic stop that claimed the life of a New Mexico State Police officer.
The tragic incident was part of a multi-agency anti-narcotics operation. The video shows how the traffic stop was conducted and how close federal agents were to the scene.
The video was provided to ABC-7 as a result of a state open records request. An edited compilation of that footage can be viewed in the video player below.
ABC-7 decided to share portions of the video because it is key in the investigation. The procedures during the traffic stop are still under review. ABC-7 will continue following the investigation to see if there were violations of protocol or procedure.
The video shows how Darian Jarrott, an NMSP officer since 2015, was shot and killed during the Feb. 4 highway-stop confrontation linked by authorities to drug trafficking that touched off a 40-mile police chase.
Officials said the attacker, 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva, was later killed in a shootout with police at Las Cruces.
The 28-year-old Jarrott, who was assisting U.S. Homeland Security investigators, made the traffic stop on Interstate 10 in southern Luna County between the cities of Las Cruces and Deming.
After being stopped, Cueva exited his pickup truck holding an AR-15-style rifle and fired at least one shot at Jarrott. As Cueva ran toward the rear of his vehicle, he fired several more rounds at the officer who was struck by the gunfire and killed. Cueva, in his final act before fleeing, would then shoot Jarrott at point-blank range in the back of the head.
A Homeland Security agent who arrived at the shooting scene notified the state police of the dead officer. After another state police officer spotted Cueva’s pickup, officers from multiple law enforcement agencies chased it to the Las Cruces area, with gunfire being exchanged at one point between Cueva and police along the route.
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.
The NMSP has previously told reporters that Cueva was on his way to Las Cruces to do a drug deal when Jarrott pulled his vehicle over. Cueva had a “violent criminal history” that included drug trafficking charges, police have said.
Jarrott was from the small community of Lordsburg, where he was buried on Feb. 12, and had been stationed out of the NMSP post in Deming. At his funeral, those who knew him said the officer had a reputation for always having a smile on his face.
(The Associated Press contributed background to this report.)