ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The wife of a New Mexico State Police officer fatally shot in the line of duty in February has filed a tort claim notice with the state seeking damages, one of the first steps in filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Gabriella Jarrott alleged that her husband, Darian Jarrott, was told to conduct a dangerous traffic stop without backup and was not informed of the details of the investigation, leading to his death.
The tort claim notice was filed but a lawsuit has not yet been filed, the Albuquerque Journal reported Monday.
New Mexico State Police last Friday made public video of the Feb. 4 shooting in southern New Mexico that showed Jarrott pulling over 39-year-old Omar Cueva. Police said Cueva shot Jarrott a few minutes later multiple times, including in the head.
Cueva fled the scene in his vehicle and fired on officers during the pursuit, police said. Las Cruces officers returned gunshots, fatally hitting Cueva.
Police said Jarrott was helping Homeland Security Investigation agents with a narcotics investigation when he pulled Cueva over, but they have not yet released additional details on the investigation or Jarrott’s role.
Sam Bregman, the attorney for Jarrott's family, told KOAT-TV that the shooting was an ambush.
“Why did they ask him to do a stop when they know (Cueva) has semi-automatic weapons and drugs in large quantities in the vehicle?” Bregman told the Journal. “Homeland Security agents showed up within 30 seconds after this horrific shooting wearing tactical gear. They knew exactly the person they were dealing with.”
Homeland Security Investigation spokesperson Leticia Zamarripa said the fact that the agency isn’t commenting “should not be construed as agreement with or stipulation to any of the allegations.”
She added: “As part of the Department of Homeland Security’s homeland security mission, our trained law enforcement professionals adhere to the Department’s mission and values, and uphold our laws while continuing to provide the nation with safety and security.”
“This investigation is active and ongoing,” State Police spokesman Mark Soriano said. “The investigation is being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau.”
Jarrott his survived by his pregnant wife and three children.