Violent fugitive killed cop who responded to help him with his flat tire, police say

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Jaremy Smith, center inset, is wanted in the killing of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare, right inset. Police are also investigating Smith in the death of paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore, left inset. (Smith and Hare photos from New Mexico State Police; Machado-Fore's photo from Marion County Sheriff's Office - South Carolina; BMW photo from KOB4/YouTube)

Jaremy Smith, center inset, is wanted in the killing of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare, right inset. Police are also investigating Smith in the death of paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore, left inset. (Smith and Hare photos from New Mexico State Police; Machado-Fore’s photo from Marion County Sheriff’s Office — South Carolina; BMW photo from KOB4/YouTube)

A manhunt is underway for a 32-year-old ex-con suspected of killing a paramedic in South Carolina and driving her car to New Mexico, where he shot an officer who had responded to help him with his flat tire on the side of a road.

Jaremy Smith is wanted in the killing of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare, authorities said. Police are also investigating him in the death of paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore, whose body was found on Friday after she had been reported missing by family, according to South Carolina’s Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

“Jaremy Smith, we are coming for you. I implore you to turn yourself in and surrender peacefully,” New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler said in a news conference. “There is nowhere he can run. There’s nowhere he can hide where we will not find him.”

Weisler described how it all happened on Friday around 5 a.m. New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Haro was dispatched to Interstate 40 near milepost 318 to assist a motorist in a white BMW who had a flat tire and had been attempting to flag down other motorists.

Hare parked behind the disabled vehicle. Smith allegedly got out of a white BMW and approached Officer Hare’s passenger side window. After a short conversation about repairing a tire and possibly getting a ride, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot Officer Hare, authorities said. Smith then walked to the driver’s side and shot Hare again before pushing the wounded officer into the passenger seat and driving away in his patrol car with Hare inside.

Calls from dispatch to Hare were not answered, so an officer was dispatched to investigate. While en route, the officer saw Hare’s patrol car speeding along a frontage road parallel to an interstate. The officer took the next exit to get on the frontage road and tried to catch up to Officer Hayes’ unit. Hare’s patrol unit had crashed off the side of the road near milepost 304 by the time the officer caught up to it. When the officer approached the car, no one was inside. The driver had run away and disappeared. Officer Hare was found on the frontage road of Interstate 40 near milepost 312. He was taken to Danbury Hospital in Tucumcari, where he died.

Police quickly identified the suspect, saying they caught him on Officer Hare’s police unit dashboard camera. They also said they connected him to the BMW, which Machado-Fore owned. She was reported missing on Thursday and found dead on Friday after information led law enforcement to a property in Dillon County, South Carolina.

Warrants were issued for Smith for Hare’s murder, but the investigation is “far from over,” Marion County Sheriff Brian Wallace said on Facebook.

“Mrs. Fore was one of us, a fellow first responder,” Wallace said. “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.”

Authorities said Smith has ties to the Albuquerque area and has an extensive criminal history, mainly in South Carolina, dating back at least a decade.

Officer Hare, who had been on the force for five years, was described as a pillar of his community, living in the house he grew up in.

“Officer Hare died serving his state and his community,” Weisler said. “On a cold, dark and windy morning, he offered help to a person he thought was in need. That person killed him in cold blood.”

 

 

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