Suspect in Fatal Shooting of New Mexico State Police Officer Captured, Authorities Say

Wire Service
By Wire Service
March 17, 2024US News
A suspect has been captured after a two-day manhunt in the fatal shooting of a New Mexico State Police officer. Jaremy Smith was captured after a confrontation with officers on Sunday.

The man suspected of fatally shooting a New Mexico State Police officer has been taken into custody after a police pursuit and an officer-involved shooting, according to the state police.

Jaremy Smith, 33, was “captured after a pursuit and officer-involved shooting” that involved the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State Police said on Facebook on Sunday, two days after State Police Officer Justin Hare was shot when he stopped to help the driver of a disabled vehicle – allegedly Smith – on Interstate 40.

Investigators have since determined that vehicle, a white BMW, belonged to Phonesia Machado-Fore, a Marion, South Carolina, paramedic who was found dead Friday evening, according to the Marion County, South Carolina, sheriff’s office.

Authorities have not identified Smith as a suspect in Machado-Fore’s death, but the New Mexico State Police called him a “person of interest” in that case. Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace vowed to “not stop until we bring the person or persons responsible for her death to justice.”

Smith faces a slew of charges, New Mexico State Police previously said, including first-degree murder, armed robbery, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and criminal damage to property.

Officer Shot ‘In Cold Blood’ While Authorities Searched for Missing Paramedic

Hare, a father of two who graduated from the police recruit school in 2018, was sent around 5 a.m. Friday to help a driver with a flat tire who was trying to wave down other motorists on Interstate 40 near Tucumcari in eastern New Mexico, State Police Chief Troy Weisler said in a video statement.

NTD Photo
New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare. (New Mexico State Police)

Hare parked behind Smith’s vehicle, and Smith approached the officer’s passenger side window, Weisler said, where the two had a brief conversation about fixing the flat. Hare offered to give Smith a ride to town, Weisler said.

Smith then took out a gun and shot Hare, Weisler said, before walking to the driver’s side of the officer’s vehicle and shooting Hare again. Smith pushed Hare into the passenger seat and drove away in the patrol vehicle, Weisler said.

Another state police officer saw Hare’s patrol car traveling west at high speed while responding to the scene, state police said in a news release. When that officer caught up with Hare’s vehicle, it had crashed. Smith was thought to have fled on foot, the release said, while Hare was found nearby and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“On a cold, dark and windy morning, he offered help to a person he thought was in need,” Weisler said Saturday at a news conference. “That person killed him in cold blood. The last words Officer Hare uttered on this earth was to offer help to a man who was about to kill him.”

While police in New Mexico searched for Smith, authorities in South Carolina were searching for Machado-Fore, whose family reported her missing Thursday evening, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

On Friday morning, New Mexico State Police told Marion County investigators that Machado-Fore’s vehicle was involved in Hare’s shooting, the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. Her body was found later Friday evening, outside of Lake View in Dillon County, the sheriff’s office said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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