Extensive Analysis Reveals Several Factors In The Fatal Shooting Of A New Mexico Police Officer

An internal investigation by the New Mexico State Police into the fatal shooting of an officer who mistakenly stopped an armed drug suspect in February 2021 while he was being tracked by federal agents as part of an undercover operation revealed that the officer’s techniques and communications were flawed.

Extensive Analysis Reveals Several Factors In The Fatal Shooting Of A New Mexico Police Officer

The report, which was made public on Wednesday, goes into great detail about Officer Darian Jarrott’s death. Some of the information was taken from the dashboard and body-worn camera footage. During an Interstate 10 traffic check, he was shot and murdered.

The article also details Omar Cueva-Felix’s death, which occurred during a 40-mile car chase and a gunfight with Las Cruces police. Cueva-Felix was a suspected drug trafficker.

It concludes that there were discrepancies in the statements given by a supervisor of the State Police and two agents of the United States Homeland Security Investigations on whether or not the supervisor was informed of Cueva-Felix’s criminal background and the HSI’s plan to arrest him on the highway.

“Omar Cueva-Felix killed Officer Jarrott in cold blood, and unfortunately, we cannot change that,” said Troy Weisler, the chief of the New Mexico State Police, in a statement released along with the findings.

According to the head, the evaluation led to conversations regarding potential alternate strategies and measures for particular circumstances as well as many internal policy revisions inside the agency.

“The highlighting of mistakes by different individuals involved in the incident and noting areas for improvement is done solely to learn and find ways to operate more safely,” Weisler said.

After more than 30 years, Jarrott, 28, became the first New Mexico State Police officer to be slain while performing their duties. After serving as a state transportation inspector, the father of four joined the state police in 2015.

Numerous lawsuits were filed after the incident, alleging negligence on the parts of HSI and Jarrott’s supervisors for failing to alert the officer of Cueva-Felix’s potential for harm. In July of last year, a federal judge in Albuquerque dismissed one of the claims, finding that the government was not liable.

Jarrott had been instructed by a supervisory State Police officer to stop Cueva-Felix at the request of federal authorities. The request was made following the suspect’s declaration that he would not be returning to prison, the sale of a sizable amount of drugs to an undercover agent, and the demonstration of a huge rifle.

Cueva-Felix, 40, of Deming was known to carry a gun and had a lengthy criminal past in California, according to the authorities.

On February 4, 2021, in the afternoon, a deadly traffic stop took place on I-10, approximately 15 miles east of Deming. Jarrott was attacked and shot several times in a matter of minutes. Cueva-Felix then led the police on a pursuit that resulted in a firefight in Las Cruces where he was shot and killed along with a city police officer.

The agency is examining the findings and the committee’s recommendations about cooperative enforcement operations, according to a statement released to the Albuquerque Journal by Eric McLoughlin, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations El Paso. Additionally, he expressed the agency’s sympathy for Jarrott’s death.

According to McLoughlin, his agency collaborates with other law enforcement agencies, including the New Mexico State Police. Additionally, special agents are frequently integrated as task force members with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

In the examination, it was noted that Jarrott was not included in text exchanges with federal agents regarding the plan and that no State Police personnel attended an official operation briefing. It further pointed out that despite two agencies and various HSI units operating in cities 60 miles (96 kilometres) apart, there was no incident command structure in place.

The study also revealed that Jarrott ought to have “changed his tactics” after he noticed a weapon on the suspect’s hip because he didn’t seem to recognize “danger cues” after halting Cueva-Felix.

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