Retired LCPD officer killed after being struck by carjacking suspects in Las Cruces

A retired LCPD officer was killed after being struck by two carjacking suspects during a high-speed chase in Las Cruces.

A retired Las Cruces police officer has died after being struck by two carjacking suspects during a high-speed chase in Las Cruces, according to police.

Dan Trujillo, spokesman with the Las Cruces Department, said “J.R. Stewart was one of the most loved and respected officers the community has known.”

The men and women of the Las Cruces Police Department extend our deepest condolences to J.R.’s family, especially to his beautiful wife Rosie and to Momma Stewart. We will forever be by your side. J.R. left a legacy in law enforcement and in pure goodness that is incomparable. We will miss him and will try to emulate his passion for life in all that we do. J.R. was a dear friend to many and will be deeply missed, Trujillo said.

The incident happened after a GMC pickup entered the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 just west of Las Cruces around 2 p.m. Monday.

Agents discovered that the vehicle was reported stolen out of Colorado last month.

New Mexico State Police officials said agents asked the driver for identification and he said he didn’t have any.

The woman passenger gave agents a stolen driver’s license and that’s when the driver was asked to pull over into the secondary lane.

The man and woman fled in the pickup, leading agents on a high-speed chase through I-10.

Agents then saw the suspects carjack a Toyota4Runner at gunpoint and then flee toward Las Cruces, police said.

The family that was inside the vehicle was interviewed by police and family members said they were driving east on I-10 when they saw the pickup cross onto the eastbound lanes and nearly hit a tractor-trailer. When they stopped their vehicle to avoid a crash, the suspects went up to the vehicle. The man pulled out a black handgun and told the family to get out, police said.

The man and woman then drove away in the family’s SUV.

Police said the family was unharmed.

Around 5 p.m., Las Cruces Police officers spotted the carjacking suspects at the corner of Walnut Street and Lohman Avenue.

They continued the pursuit through the city and back onto both I-10 and I-25, reaching speeds of up to 110 mph, police said.

The suspect drove into oncoming traffic and eventually drove through a barbed wire fence onto Las Alturas Drive, where he struck Stewart who was on a motorcycle.

Stewart was taken to Mountain View Hospital in Las Cruces, where he died.

Police said the suspects got out of the vehicle at the intersection of Las Alturas and Sotol drives and attempted to carjack another vehicle before being taken into custody.

Dona Ana County Sheriff Enrique “Kiki” Vigil issued the following statement after hearing of Stewart’s passing:

J.R. was a respected lawman who always wanted what was best for his community. The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department mourns his loss, and we extend our deepest condolences to the Stewart family.

Las Alturas Drive from the Mesquite interchange at mile post 4.5 to Cholla Road is currently closed as police investigate.

Traffic is being detoured onto Stern Drive and I-10.

We will update this article as more information becomes available.

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