Suspect captured in fatal shooting of New Mexico State Police officer

New Mexico State Police cruiser at New Mexico State Police station 4^ Alamogordo NM 88310.

Following a two-day manhunt a suspect is in custody for the murder of a New Mexico State Police officer, who was shot and killed on a highway near Tucumcari, New Mexico last week.  Officer Justin Hare, 35, was shot without warning around 5 a.m. local time Friday morning when he responded to a call of a driver with a flat tire on Interstate 40 near milepost 318, state police previously said. Hare died after being transported to a local hospital.

New Mexico state police posted Sunday on social media that the suspect, 32-year-old Jaremy Smith of South Carolina, was captured following an officer-involved shooting on Sunday with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office did not provide further details. Smith has a criminal history in South Carolina, including allegations of hostage taking, burglary and armed robbery; he also has spent time in Albuquerque. The vehicle with the flat tire belonged to a paramedic in Marion County, South Carolina, 52-year-old Phenesia Machado-Fore, who was found murdered Friday after she was reported missing from the area. Smith is a person of interest in the South Carolina case as well.

New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler said Smith approached the passenger side of Hare’s patrol vehicle. After a short conversation in which Hare offered him a ride to town, Smith allegedly opened fire without warning; he then allegedly walked to the driver’s side, opened fire on the officer again and pushed him to its passenger side, got in the patrol vehicle and drove off.  Colleagues were alerted to Hare’s situation after the officer did not respond to radio traffic, and later appeared to have been able to depress a panic button common on police radios.  A responding officer saw Hare’s patrol vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, but by the time the officer reached the vehicle,it had crashed on an interstate frontage road and was abandoned. Hare was found along the same frontage road, where he was taken to a hospital. The suspect had vanished.

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