Elias Montoya, the former New Mexico State Police officer who was fired from the department after shooting at a minivan containing Oriana Farrell and her kids in 2013, was hired by and is now working for the Taos County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy.
Montoya started work Monday, and is currently training at the County Detention Center.
After making the drive to Taos Tuesday on the word of the sheriff that Montoya would do an interview, Montoya declined at the last minute.
Back in October 2013, Montoya was captured on dash cam video firing at Farrell’s minivan during a police chase through the county. Her five children were also inside the van.
Taos Co. Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe says Montoya was chosen from 17 applicants to fill just one of two available positions.
“He was in good standing and had no other pending internal matters prior to [the Farrell incident],” Hogrefe said. “His work history was very good.”
After being fired by state police, he was offered his job back, but refused to take it and resigned.
Sheriff Hogrefe says Montoya has a clean record.
“Nothing from DPS [or] the training academy pertaining to his certification or qualifications…so he has a clean work history,” Hogrefe said.
The sheriff defended Montoya’s actions in the dash cam video, saying Montoya didn’t know there were kids in the van and that he believed the driver had a gun.
“I cannot fault anyone for making a split-second decision,” Hogrefe said.