FBI Warns of Alarming Rise in Violent Carjackings in New Mexico

Alarming surge in violent carjackings in New Mexico, with 100+ incidents projected for 2024. FBI warns drivers to be vigilant as they investigate this dangerous trend and honor slain officer.

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FBI Warns of Alarming Rise in Violent Carjackings in New Mexico

FBI Warns of Alarming Rise in Violent Carjackings in New Mexico

The FBI's Albuquerque field office is warning of an alarming rise in violent carjackings in New Mexico, with approximately 30 incidents reported from January to April 1, 2024. Projections indicate the number could exceed 100 for the year, after the tragic ambush and killing of state police Officer Justin Hare on March 15, 2024.

The suspect, 33-year-old Jaremy Smith of Marion, South Carolina, is accused of carjacking and killing Officer Hare, as well as another victim, South Carolina paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore. Smith allegedly kidnapped and shot Machado-Fore in the back of the head, then stole her car which he was traveling in when he shot Officer Hare.

The FBI is pursuing federal charges against Smith, who could face the death penalty for his crimes. Carjacking is a violent federal crime that can carry a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. If convicted of the current charges, Smith faces a mandatory life sentence or the death penalty.

Why this matters: The surge in violent carjackings poses a serious threat to public safety in New Mexico. The tragic killing of Officer Hare underscores the dangers faced by law enforcement and the need for heightened vigilance and community support to combat this alarming trend.

Officer Hare's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, March 26, at 11 a.m. at Legacy Church in Albuquerque, and is open to the public. All law enforcement agencies are encouraged to send representatives to honor Hare's dedication, bravery, and service to the community. The services will also be streamed on the New Mexico State Police's YouTube channel, and the public is invited to send flowers to Daniels Family Funeral Services to pay tribute to Officer Hare.

The FBI is urging drivers to be cautious and aware of their surroundings to avoid becoming easy targets for carjackers. Locking doors and remaining vigilant are crucial steps to reducing the risk of falling victim to these violent crimes. As the investigation into the rise in carjackings continues, authorities are working diligently to bring perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of New Mexico's communities.

Key Takeaways

  • FBI warns of alarming rise in violent carjackings in New Mexico.
  • Suspect Jaremy Smith accused of carjacking, killing officer and paramedic.
  • Smith faces federal charges, potential life sentence or death penalty.
  • Officer Hare's funeral open to public, law enforcement encouraged to attend.
  • FBI urges drivers to be cautious, lock doors to avoid becoming carjacking victims.