The El Paso Municipal Police Officers' Association extends its deepest condolences to the famiy, colleagues and friends of Retired Motor Officer Juan Ramon (J.R.) Stewart of the Las Cruces, NM, Police Department. Retired Officer Stewart was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by two carjacking suspects during a high-speed chase on Monday, November 27, 2017 in Las Cruces.
The incident began at around 2:00 PM after a pickup truck with two occupants entered the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 west of Las Cruces. Border Patrol Agents discovered that the vehicle was reported stolen out of Colorado last month and asked the occupants to move to the side for a secondary inspection after the male driver stated he did not have any identification. Instead, the two fled the checkpoint in the pickup, leading agents on a high-speed chase through I-10.
Sometime after the chase began, the suspects stopped and carjacked an SUV at gunpoint and fled toward Las Cruces. The occupants of the SUV were not physically harmed. At around 5:00 PM, the carjacking suspects were spotted at the intersection of Walnut St. and Lohman Ave. by officers with the Las Cruces Police Department. The high-speed pursuit continued in Las Cruces on both I-10 and I-25.
The male subject subsequently drove into oncoming traffic and then through a barbed wire fence onto Las Alturas Drive, where he struck Retired Officer Stewart who was on his motorcycle. Retired Officer Stewart was taken to Mountain View Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Retired Officer Stewart, who was born in El Paso, was just 61 years of age. He retired from the Las Cruces Police Department after 35 years. He proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years as well.
Funeral Services are as follows:
Visitation - Friday, December 1, 2017, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at Baca’s Funeral Chapel, 300 E. Boutz Road.
A Prayer Vigil is scheduled for 7:30 PM at St. Genevieve Catholic Church, 100 S. Espina.
Funeral Mass: Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 10:00 AM. The Rite of Committal and Interment will follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery with military honors.
The EPMPOA asks that you please keep the entire Stewart Family, especially his wife Rosie, daughter Ashley and mother Virginia, in your thoughts and prayers.