Authorities search for suspect who shot and killed New Mexico State Police officer

Authorities search for suspect who shot and killed New Mexico State Police officer

New Mexico State Police say one of their officers was killed early Friday morning on Interstate 40 near Tucumcari. Saturday update

Update, 10:30 a.m. Saturday: Police say the owner of the vehicle that was found at the scene of the fatal shooting of NMSP Officer Justin Hare was found dead in South Carolina Friday.

Authorities say Phonesia Machado-Fore was a first responder, and was reported missing by family on Thursday, March 14. Machado-Fore was later found dead outside of Lake View in Dillion County the next day.

Marion County Sheriff Brain Wallace said in a statement:

” Mrs. Fore was one of us, a fellow first responder. Her death is senseless.  Our community has suffered a tremendous loss.  My team and I will not stop until we bring the person or persons responsible for her death to justice.”

Update, 12:45 a.m. Saturday: New Mexico State Police have identified the suspect as 32-year-old Jaremy Smith of Marion, South Carolina. NMSP has issued an arrest warrant for Smith, charging him with 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. 

Smith is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. If seen, call the New Mexico State Police at (505) 425-6771 or dial 911.

TUCUMCARI, N.M. — New Mexico State Police say one of their officers was killed early Friday morning on Interstate 40 near Tucumcari.

Officials identified the officer as 35-year-old Justin Hare. State Police say he was shot and killed near mile marker 320 on I-40.

NMSP is still looking for the suspect. He was wearing a brown hoodie and jacket.

NMSP says the suspect was last seen walking on the I-40 Frontage Road at mile marker 304, between Montoya and Newkirk, heading east. They believe the suspect is armed and dangerous.

Friday night, KOB 4 learned a vehicle at the scene is part of a missing persons case in South Carolina.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina is actively searching for local paramedic Phonesia Machado Fore. They said the 52-year-old was last seen at her home Tuesday, and they think she was driving her white BMW.

The license plate number authorities are giving for that BMW matches the vehicle found at the scene Friday morning in New Mexico.

The BMW had some flat tires and was parked next to police vehicles facing westbound on I-40, about 10 miles west of Tucumcari. That’s where police say the suspect reportedly shot and killed Hare.

At another scene, several miles away, there was also a crashed NMSP vehicle.

NMSP shared the following message late Friday night. More information is expected to be released at a news conference at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

In the update, NMSP Chief Troy Weisler said Hare was dispatched to help the suspect who was on I-40 and attempting to wave down other motorists because he had a flat tire. When Hare arrived, he parked behind the suspect’s car. The suspect got out of his car and approached Hare’s passenger side window.

According to NMSP, a short conversation ensued about fixing the tire and Hare offered to give the suspect a ride to town. Without warning, the suspect reportedly pulled out a gun and shot Hare. The suspect then walked to the driver’s side and shot Hare again. NMSP says the suspect pushed Hare into the passenger and drove away in the patrol unit, which was abandoned a short time later.

“The last words that Officer Hare uttered on this earth was an offer to help the man who is about to kill him,” Weisler said. “I am disgusted and I am sickened by the actions of this cold-blooded murderer.”

Hare was a New Mexico native who grew up in Logan and Moriarty. He is survived by his parents, girlfriend, and two young children.

If anyone has information on the suspect, contact NMSP.

A GoFundMe page was created for the family of Hare.

Statement from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

“I’m heartbroken by the devastating news that State Police Officer Justin Hare was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call near Tucumcari this morning. It’s a tragic reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face each time they put on a uniform and report for duty. Officer Hare was doing his job protecting his community, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and fellow officers at this most difficult time.”

Statement from Jason Bowie, the secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety

“Today, our hearts are broken by the tragic and painful news that we lost one of our state’s finest public servants, Officer Justin Hare, who was killed this morning in the line of duty. It’s a sacrifice no one should have to make.

This is shocking news to everyone who knew and worked with Officer Hare. My heart is with his family, colleagues, and friends.

We all owe a great debt to the men and women of law enforcement, who daily put their lives on the line to protect the lives, property and rights of New Mexicans, visitors and those passing through our great State.

Officer Hare will never be forgotten, and his sacrifice safeguarding our state is worthy of the highest honors.”

Response from law enforcement