The police officer in New Mexico who fired shots at a minivan as the driver began to flee from a traffic stop has been terminated. At the time the officer shot at the vehicle, the van had five kids inside it.
State Police spokesperson Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said that officer Elias Montoya was terminated from his position as of Friday, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Gutierrez said he had confirmed the firing with State Police Chief Pete Kassetas.
It was previously reported that Montoya fired three times at a minivan full of children as their mother drove away from a contentious traffic stop. The mother, Oriana Farrell, had five children, ranging in age from 6 to 16 years old, inside the van at the time of the traffic stop.
According to details in a police report, Montoya said he was trying to shoot out a tire “in an attempt to immobilize the vehicle” when he fired three shots as the 39-year-old Farrell drove the van away from officers for a second time after she had been stopped for speeding.
Fox News reports that Montoya, who had been with the department for about a dozen years, has 30 days to appeal his firing to the Public Safety Advisory Commission, which is made up of civilians appointed by the governor.
Gutierrez reportedly also confirmed to the Albuquerque Journal that two other officers who were present for the chaotic traffic stop were still employed by the State Police. One of the other officers was seen on the video of the encounter, which has drawn national attention, bashing out a window as the children inside the van were screaming.
Farrell and her son were arrested when she eventually pulled over in front of a hotel. She faces charges of child abuse, fleeing and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia for a pair of marijuana pipes that authorities say were in the van.
Montoya later bought the entire family food from McDonald’s during the booking process, according to a police report.