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Police: Slain officer shot by man he was trying to help

TUCUMCARI -- The New Mexico State Police officer slain near Tucumari on Friday was responding to a request to help a motorist with a flat tire.

Justin Hare parked behind the disabled vehicle, NMSP Chief Troy Weisler said, and was shot moments later.

"The suspect exited his vehicle and approached Officer Hare's passenger side window," Weisler said in a videotaped message released Saturday. "A short conversation ensued about repairing his tire, and Officer Hare offered to give the suspect a ride to town.

"Then, without warning, the suspect pulled out a firearm and shot Officer Hare. The suspect then walked to the driver's side and shot Officer Hare again. He then pushed Officer Hare into the passenger seat and drove away in Officer Hare's patrol unit, which was abandoned a short time later."

Officials have identified the suspect as Jaremy Smith, 32, of Marion, S.C. He remained at large on Saturday morning.

"The last words that Officer Hare uttered on this earth was an offer to help the man who was about to kill him," Weisler said in the videotaped message. "I am disgusted and I am sickened by the actions of this cold-blooded murderer. We are bringing every resource to bear to bring Officer Hare's killer to justice. And we will not rest until that is done."

The shooting happened about 5 a.m. Friday.

Hare, 35, is survived by his parents, a girlfriend and two young children. Hare, a member of the Logan community, had been with the state police force since 2018.

The suspect last was seen on foot on the Interstate-40 frontage road at milepost 304 between Montoya and Newkirk.

According to a tweet from New Mexico State Police, the suspect last was seen wearing a brown hoodie and jacket. Anyone with information was urged to call 911.

The shooting occurred near mile marker 317 on westbound I-40.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder.

Anyone with information about the suspect's whereabouts is urged to call 911.

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