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New Mexico state officer killed, suspect dead after post-chase shootout

New Mexico State Police Officer Darian Jarrott was killed during a traffic stop. The suspect later died in an exchange of gunfire with police, authorities said.

A New Mexico State Police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop by a gunman who drove off and was killed after a pursuit, authorities said.

Officer Darian Jarrott was killed when Omar Felix Cueva, 39, fired at least one shot during the stop near the town of Deming, state police said.

Cueva then fled in the pickup before police forced him to a stop near Las Cruces, where he fired at officers and was killed by return gunfire, officials said.

A Las Cruces police officer was wounded and airlifted to a Texas hospital, where he was treated and released.

"Our officers are, as you can imagine, pretty shaken up, and are dealing with it pretty tough," New Mexico State Police Chief Robert Thornton said at a news conference Thursday night. "They worked hand-in-hand with Officer Jarrott."

Jarrott was assisting federal Homeland Security Investigations before the traffic stop, police said.

Thornton said police are aware that that the suspect was on his way to Las Cruces "to engage in a drug interaction or a drug buy," but it wasn't immediately clear if that was the reason for the HSI investigation.

Cueva lived in the Deming area, and search warrants were being executed Thursday night, Thornton said.

Jarrott, 28, a father of three, was expecting a fourth this year, Thornton said. He was certified as a law enforcement officer in 2014, worked with the former department of public safety's motor transportation division, and was sworn in as a state police officer in 2015, police said.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered flags lowered to half-staff from Friday to sundown Tuesday. She said she was "shocked, heartbroken and enraged" by the officer's death.

"The New Mexico State Police put their lives on the line to help keep us safe," the governor said in a statement. "I join all New Mexico and the New Mexico State Police community in grieving this senseless, heinous loss.”

After the fatal shooting, Cueva was spotted by state police traveling east on Interstate 10, and Cueva pulled onto an exit and fired at police, officials said.

A chase then began, officers successfully used "tire deflation devices" at one point, officials said.

A Las Cruces police officer then used a "pursuit intervention technique" to stop the truck, according to the state police statement. The move typically means a pursuing police vehicle is used to push another vehicle at an angle from behind.

Deming is a town of around 14,000 in the southwest part of the state, and Las Cruces is a city of around 102,000 a little less than 60 miles to the east, and north of El Paso. The two shooting scenes were around 40 miles apart, state police said.