Health + Safety

Fired New Mexico Cop Regrets Shooting at Minivan Full of Kids

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The former New Mexico state police officer who fired three shots at a minivan during a chaotic traffic stop says “his heart sank” when he realized five children were inside.

“My heart sank when they finally stopped and I was at the passenger side at  that time seeing them get out at gunpoint again,” Elias Montoya, 53, told ABC News, recalling the routine traffic stop gone bad.

“I couldn’t believe it that there were that many children in there.”

On Oct. 28 last year a minivan driven by Oriana Farrell was pulled over in Taos, N.M. for going 71 mph in a 55 mph zone.

The traffic stop turned chaotic when the driver argued with the officers and sped off twice. It even included a scuffle between an officer and Farrell’s 14-year-old son.

Montoya–who arrived at the scene when the confrontation had already escalated– fired at the van as Ferrell drove off.

Farrell had her five children in the minivan, aged 6 to 18.

After the high-speed chase finally ended in front of a Taos hotel,  Montoya learned that there were children inside the vehicle.

“If I knew that there was even one child in that vehicle,” he said. “I wouldn’t  have done it.”

Montoya was fired for violating trooper rules regarding the use of deadly force. He is appealing his dismissal.

The minivan’s driver, 39-year-old Oriana Farrell of Memphis, Tenn., awaits trial on charges of child abuse, fleeing and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Farrell has said she was trying to protect her family when she twice sped away from officers.

Watch the video below.