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Suspect in fatal New Mexico State Police officer shooting captured: Officials

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Suspect in fatal New Mexico State Police officer shooting captured: Officials

New Mexico State Police

The suspect wanted in the killings of a New Mexico state trooper and a South Carolina paramedic was captured Sunday following a shooting involving law enforcement, authorities said.

The suspect, Jaremy Smith, was taken into custody in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, after leading police on a chase that resulted in a shooting involving at least one deputy from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, according to the New Mexico State Police.

Smith is suspected in the fatal shooting of New Mexico State Police officer Justin Hare early Friday and the slaying of Phonesia Machado-Fore, a South Carolina paramedic who was reported missing on Thursday, authorities said.

The 33-year-old suspect, who was identified on Saturday by police, was the subject of a massive manhunt. New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler had said during a news conference, “Jaremy Smith, we are coming for you.”

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies spotted Smith driving a car in Albuquerque at about 8 a.m. local time, officials said. Smith allegedly led deputies on a chase that ended in his arrest, according to authorities.

“The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is currently in the area of Unser and Anderson Hill for a deputy-involved shooting,” the agency said in a social media post, referring to a neighborhood in southwest Albuquerque. “The Multi-Agency Task Force has initiated an investigation.”

No deputies were injured in the incident, officials said.

Hare was gunned down around 5 a.m. Friday after answering a call to help a disabled motorist on Interstate 40 near Tucumcari, about 235 miles east of Albuquerque near the Texas border, officials said.

When Hare pulled up behind the disabled BMW, the suspect exited the vehicle and approached the officer’s passenger side window, Weisler said.

“A short conversation ensued about repairing his tire and possibly getting a ride back to town when, without warning, the suspect pulled out a firearm and shot Officer Hare,” Weisler said during Saturday’s news conference.

The suspect then walked to the driver’s side of the patrol car and allegedly shot Hare again, Weisler said. He alleged that Smith pushed Hare into the passenger seat and drove off in the patrol car with the mortally wounded officer.

When Hare did not return several attempts to contact him, an officer was sent to the scene and saw Hare’s patrol car driving at a high speed on a frontage road along the Interstate 40 road, Weisler said. Hare managed to set off a distress signal, sending an emergency signal to dispatch, police said.

Police eventually located the patrol car, crashed and empty, Weisler said. Hare was later found critically injured by the side of a road and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

During the investigation, police learned the car Smith was driving at the time of the encounter with Hare was registered to Machado-Fore, a paramedic for Florence County, South Carolina, Emergency Medical Services, authorities said.

Machado-Fore was found dead outside of Lake View in Dillon County, South Carolina, on Friday after she had been reported missing by her family, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.

Smith has an “extensive” criminal history dating back decades in South Carolina and has ties to the Albuquerque area, Weisler said.

Before Smith’s arrest, warrants were issued charging him with Hare’s murder.

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