The district attorney’s office has concluded the shooting of a Clovis man by a Texas Department of Public Safety Officer in November was justified and has obtained an indictment against Jawayne Helfferich for fleeing officers.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said Thursday his office reviewed an investigation conducted by state police that included statements of multiple officers who witnessed the pursuit and shooting, Helfferich’s mother, who was a passenger in his vehicle during the pursuit, as well as video footage captured by patrol unit cameras.
Chandler said his office can not release footage of the shooting due to the pending criminal case against Helfferich.
Helfferich, 39, was shot five times by Texas DPS officer Joel Rejino when he led Texas law enforcement from three departments on a 40-mile pursuit into northern Curry County after fleeing from a traffic stop near Friona on Nov. 8.
“The Texas DPS officer exited his parked patrol vehicle and took a defensive posture at the rear of his patrol vehicle by setting up a one man road block and the suspect’s vehicle began to veer towards him in an aggressive manner and came within inches of him,” Chandler said.
Chandler said evidence shows the officer simultaneously fired multiple shots into Helfferich’s vehicle as it passed him.
“The Texas DPS officer felt imminent danger towards his person at the time when he fired the shots,” he said.
Police have said Helfferich’s 1996 Ford Explorer collided with Rejino’s vehicle on Curry Road 21 and Helfferich then turned around and drove back toward Rejino, who got out of his disabled patrol unit.
Helfferich’s 66-year-old mother was a passenger in the vehicle during the pursuit and was uninjured.
Police have said Helfferich was unarmed.
Helfferich was arraigned Wednesday in the 9th Judicial District Court on two counts of aggravated battery against a police officer with a deadly weapon, three counts of criminal damage over $1,000 and two counts of criminal damage to property under $1,000, records show.
He is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center pending extradition to Texas on similar charges related to the pursuit, Chandler said.
Helfferich previously told the CNJ he had multiple, lasting injuries to his arms, neck and jaw where he was shot and expected to have disabilities for the remainder of his life as a result.
“We weren’t actually that surprised,” Patricia Helfferich said of her husband’s Curry County indictment for the pursuit.
But she said her husband requires pain medication and frequent doctor’s appointments, including physical therapy and pain management — needs she said are not being met by the jail.
Having already met his $12,500 bond in Curry County, she said she is trying to get him extradited to Texas so she can bond him out there and get him back on track with his medical care.
But she said the district attorney’s office has thwarted efforts to have him extradited.
“He don’t need to be sitting in jail, not in his condition... He’s in pain everyday all day long. I think that’s cruel and unusual to be in pain like that,” she said.
At Wednesday’s hearing a prosecutor asked the court not to extradite Helfferich until his case in New Mexico was resolved, telling the court Helfferich suffers from a severe alcohol problem, records show.
The judge ruled he would set an extradition bond May 1.
Patricia Helfferich said the shooting and near death experience changed her husband, who she said has battled with alcoholism for much of his life.
A recovering alcoholic who had on-again-off-again success for the past two years, she said, “Ever since this has happened he has not drank a drop.”