A Guy From South Carolina Is Being Charged With Stealing A Car And Killing A Police Officer In New Mexico


NEW MEXICO CITY, N.M.— The killing of a New Mexico state police officer has led to two federal charges against a guy from South Carolina, federal and state prosecutors said Friday.

Jaremy Smith, 33, is charged with two counts in a released criminal complaint: carjacking that killed someone and firing a gun in furtherance of a violent crime.

Smith’s first court appearance was Friday. He was chained up and wore a hospital gown and pants. His left arm was in a sling, and the defendant was in pain from the injuries he got while being captured. His public attorney asked the judge if the defendant could stay seated.

The judge told the federal government to hold Smith and set a new hearing for next week.

U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez thanked the gas station clerk for giving information that helped catch Smith. He called her “a brave civilian working a normal job 100 miles away from a terrible crime.”

“People in our community should remember that at the end of last weekend’s tragedy there was hope: strangers doing the right thing for people they’ve never met,” he said.

Uballez wouldn’t say what Smith did from South Carolina to eastern New Mexico or how he got to Albuquerque after reportedly killing the police officer before dawn on March 15.

Smith was caught by sheriff’s officers after the gas station clerk gave them a tip. According to the criminal charge, he was chased on foot and shot when he reached for his waistband as police closed in. A 9mm pistol was found close by the police. Smith was taken to the hospital to get help, but he had to stay under guard for six days.

Smith has also been named as a person of interest in the death of a paramedic in South Carolina, whose stolen car was used in the killing of the New Mexico cop. In that case, charges have not yet been brought.

Officer Justin Hare of the State Police was sent to Tucumcari around 5 a.m. on March 15 to help a driver in a white BMW on Interstate 40, according to the police.

The criminal charge says that Hare parked behind the BMW and a man got out. The man then walked up to the patrol car from the passenger side and started talking about a flat tire. Because there was no repair shop open at that time, the officer offered to drive Smith to a nearby town. When the officer asked Smith to walk in front of his police car, shots were fired.

The authorities said After that, Smith got behind the wheel of the officer’s car and drove off, leaving the officer inside. The officer’s radio sent out a “duress” signal, and other cops came to help.

Later, the State Police found out that the BMW had been reported stolen in South Carolina and belonged to a woman who had been killed there. The woman was 52-year-old paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore.

Machado-Fore’s body was found by police outside of Lake View on Friday evening in Dillon County, which is nearby. This week, the doctor said that Machado-Fore died from a gunshot to the head that was not her own. No other information from the autopsy was made public.

Smith was given a public attorney, but they hadn’t spoken up for him yet on Friday.

The police said Smith had ties to New Mexico because he had lived there before and had a long history of crime.

I looked at records from the South Carolina Department of Corrections and found that he spent eight years in jail for attempted armed robbery and hostage taking. In December 2023, he was released on parole in Marion County. The records also show that he broke many rules while he was in jail, such as having a weapon and fighting or trying to hurt staff and other inmates.

Hare had worked for the state police since 2018. He was born and raised in New Mexico. His parents, girlfriend, and their two young children will miss him. His partner and he were also going to have a child.

At a vigil in Tucumcari on Wednesday night, about 200 people held candles and cellphones and paid their respects to the cop. State police cars flashed their lights. Next Wednesday is the day of Hare’s funeral.

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