Suspect in New Mexico trooper shooting had ‘extensive’ criminal history, linked to woman found dead

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The suspect in the murder of a New Mexico State Police officer has been linked to South Carolina woman who was found dead Friday, according to police.

Jaremy Smith of Marion County, South Carolina, remains at large, police said Saturday.

Smith has an “extensive” criminal history dating back decades in South Carolina and he has ties to the Albuquerque area, according to New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler.

When the trooper was murdered, Smith was driving a car belonging to Phonesia Machado-Fore, a missing South Carolina first responder.

Machado-Fore was found dead outside of Lake View in Dillon County on Friday after she had been reported missing by family, according to South Carolina’s Marion County Sheriff’s Office. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.

In this previous booking photo released by the New Mexico State Police, Jaremy Smith is shown.

New Mexico State Police

Warrants have been issued for Smith in the murder of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare. Hare was fatally shot after responding to a call early Friday on Interstate 40, according to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Hare was killed after he was dispatched to help a person with a flat tire on Friday, according to police.

PHOTO: New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare is seen in this photo.

New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare is seen in this photo.

New Mexico State Police

At around 5 a.m., Hare was dispatched to help a motorist in a white BMW who had a flat tire and had been attempting to waive down other motorists. At the scene, the suspect approached Hare’s passenger side window and they had a short conversation about repairing his tire and possibly getting a ride back to town when the suspect — without warning — pulled out a firearm and shot Hare, New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler said during a press conference Saturday.

The suspect then walked to the driver side of the car and shot Hare again. Smith then pushed Hare into the passenger seat and drove the patrol car away, with Hare still in the vehicle, according to Weisler.

When Hare did not return several attempts to contact him, an officer was sent to the scene. When the officer responded, he saw Hare’s patrol car driving at a high speed on a fringe road which runs alongside the interstate. Hare also set off a distress signal, sending an emergency signal to dispatch, Weisler said.

PHOTO: First responders are shown at the scene where Phonesia Machado-Fore's body was found in Dillon County, South Carolina, on March 16, 2024.

First responders are shown at the scene where Phonesia Machado-Fore’s body was found in Dillon County, South Carolina, on March 16, 2024.

WPDE

The officer then took an exit and tried to catch up to the patrol car. When he caught up with the car it had crashed off the side of the road around mile post 304. But, the patrol car was empty as the suspect had fled and there was no sign of Hare, according to Weisler.

Hare was later found on the fringe road around mile post 312. He was transported to a hospital where he died, Weisler said.

The link was made between Hare’s murder and the missing first responder when New Mexico State Police called South Carolina’s Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Friday to inform them that Machado-Fore’s car was involved in the murder of one of their officers.

Federal, state and local authorities worked together to identify the driver and find Machado-Fore, ultimately finding her body in the course of their investigation.

The manhunt for Smith continues, with police calling on the public with any knowledge about his whereabouts to step forward.

“Jaremy Smith, we are coming for you. I implore you to turn yourself in and surrender peacefully,” Weisler said.

Police said Smith should not be approached and should be considered armed and dangerous.

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