VIDEO: New Mexico cop opens fire on van full of children, loses job

What should have been a routine traffic stop on Oct. 28 2013 turned into a melee on the rural country roads of New Mexico when Oriana Farell, 39, driving a van full of her children aged six to sixteen, was pulled over  for speeding by New Mexico State Police (NMSP) Officer Tony DeTavis.

Farell was clocked doing 71 mph in a 55 mph speed zone.  After verbally sparing and refusing to accept a citation from DeTavis, Farell sped away leading the officer on a low speed pursuit down the road for a mile before pulling over again.  DeTavis then attempted to wrestle Farell out of the vehicle, pulling on her arm multiple times in a chaotic scene with Farell’s children screaming at DeTavis in protest.  At one point Farell’s teenage son attempted to exit the vehicle, but was ordered by DeTavis to halt.  Eventually the scene mellowed, and DeTavis was able to negotiate calmly for Farell to exit her vehicle without further use of force.

Once outside DeTavis asked Farell to turn around, presumably to affix handcuffs to ensure she would not attempt to flee again.  This is when Farell attempted to re-enter her vehicle, and DeTavis attempted to block her path.  At one point DeTavis slammed Farell’s vehicle door on Farell.  Farell’s teenage son exited the vehicle, and attacked DeTavis freeing his mother who then regained control of her vehicle.  Officer DeTavis drew a weapon and began to peruse Farell’s son who fled back inside the vehicle.

Moments later two other NMSP squad cars arrived, one driven by Officer Elias Montoya.

With three officers surrounding her vehicle, and with DeTavis attempting to break inside by smashing the passenger side windows, Farell once again sped down the road.


This is when Officer Elias Montoya opened fire on Farell’s van, carrying five children aged six to sixteen.  Montoya began to shoot as the vehicle pulled away, and fired three shots claiming he was attempting to shoot out the vehicle’s tires.

Oriana Farell then led NMSP on a 100 mph pursuit, before surrendering in a local hotel parking lot.  Farell has been charged with fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest, child abuse, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  She is free on bond waiting trial.  Her son has been charged with battery and assault on a police officer.

For his part Officer Elias Montoya, a 12-year veteran of NMSP, was fired on Dec. 6 2013.  By law Montoya has a 30 day window to appeal his termination although being reinstated seems highly unlikely considering New Mexico’s governor Susana Martinez  spoke out about this case and agreed with his termination:

At the end of the day, there were five children in the car and no deadly force being used against the police officers.  You don’t use deadly force against someone who is not threatening you with deadly force.

The full unedited police dashboard video can be viewed below:

Video source:


Lou Colagiovanni is the editor of, National Crime Reporter for, and editor of the political discussion community,”We survived Bush.  You will survive Obama.”  You may contact Lou at [email protected]