Memorial service honors New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare who was killed in the line of duty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Tributes are pouring in for a New Mexico State Police officer killed in the line of duty. Hundreds of people gathered in Albuquerque to honor Officer Justin Hare, who was shot and killed near Tucumcari nearly two weeks ago.

Services were held Wednesday at Legacy Church in northwest Albuquerque where many shared how Officer Hare put others before himself.

“Although I wish I didn’t have to say goodbye, I wish we had done it under different circumstances. He wasn’t my blood, but he always was and always will be my brother,” said NMSP Officer Javier Garcia.

“I’ll miss you…we’ll miss you. I hope I can show some of the love and kindness you showed to others,” said NMSP Officer, Nathan Schoebach.

Fellow officers and family members bid a tearful and heartfelt farewell to the 35-year-old state police officer who spent six years with NMSP. Officer Justin Hare was killed March 15 on I-40 outside Tucumcari when a driver trying to help him, shot him. Hare was a father of two with a third on the way.

His family shared memories from his childhood saying that he loved to have fun and laugh. New Mexico State Police Chief, Troy Weissler, said Officer Hare is the epitome of what it means to be an officer. “Even though your watch is over Justin, there is no doubt that you will forever be a part of the Black and Gray,” said NMSP Chief Troy Wiesler.

“Justin said ‘If I’m going to die, I want to be a hero… saving lives or serving my community.’ In my eyes you were a hero just answering the call,” said family friend and pastor, Curtis Miller.

Har’s father also urged the state police officers not to let the tragedy discourage or break their spirits. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also spoke at the funeral.

After the mass, attendees gathered outside for a 21-gun salute, followed by a helicopter flyover and last call. The man accused of killing Officer Hare, Jeremy Smith, is now in federal custody facing the possibility of the death penalty.

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