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Sat, Oct. 16

Briefs | Phoenix-area deputy beaten by suspect succumbs to injuries

PHOENIX - A metro Phoenix sheriff's deputy who suffered grave injuries at the hands of a man he had just arrested died Monday, authorities said.

Deputy Juan “Johnny” Ruiz succumbed to injuries he suffered on Saturday, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said in a statement. Penzone's announcement came after a media briefing earlier in the day where he said Ruiz's family had decided to remove him from life support.

“His loss is a tragedy for our profession and our community,” Penzone said. “I am committed to pursuing justice for Deputy Ruiz to the fullest extent of the law against the suspect. Nothing less is acceptable.”

The family plans to donate his organs.

“He will be making a sacrifice so that others may benefit,” Penzone said.

The man accused of attacking Ruiz, 30-year-old Clinton Robert Hurley, remained hospitalized in stable condition Monday after getting in a gunfight with a homeowner. Authorities anticipate additional charges for Hurley.

The ordeal started Saturday morning when Ruiz arrested Hurley, who had outstanding warrants for his arrest, and was transferring him into a holding cell at a substation in suburban Avondale, which is about 18 miles (28 kilometers) west of Phoenix.

Police say an uncuffed Hurley beat Ruiz, who tried to radio for assistance several times. Authorities say Hurley took keys from a bleeding and unconscious Ruiz and fled in a deputy vehicle, crashing through a gate.

Deputies found Ruiz after reports came in of someone suspicious driving a police vehicle. He was rushed to a hospital.

A manhunt for Hurley ensued.

Later in the day, deputies responded to a shooting at a home in Tonopah about 52 miles (83 kilometers) west of Phoenix. Deputies determined a man fired on the homeowner, Penzone said. The homeowner then shot back and hit the man three times. One bullet resulted in a serious wound.

Deputies attempting first aid recognized Hurley because of his tattoos, according to Penzone.

Investigators say Hurley and the homeowner were known to each other but did not say the nature of their relationship.

Hurley was released from an Arizona prison in December after serving time for attempted child molestation, authorities said. It was not known Monday whether he had retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Investigators were also searching for a second vehicle they said Hurley stole and abandoned while hiding from authorities.

Ruiz was with the sheriff's office for three years.

La Paz County Sheriff's sergeant killed by vehicle

QUARTZSITE – A La Paz County Sheriff’s sergeant was fatally struck by a vehicle following a pursuit near the Arizona-California border, authorities said Monday.

Sheriff’s officials said Sgt. Michael Rudd exited his car and was subsequently struck head-on by a commercial motor vehicle along Interstate 10.

They said Rudd was rushed to a hospital in Blythe, California, where he later died from his injuries.

Rudd was promoted to sergeant in March and had worked for La Paz County since 2013.

Quartzsite police, the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office and Arizona Department of Public Safety began the pursuit just after midnight Monday and it ended about 20 miles east of Quartzsite.

Authorities said the pursuit suspect was taken into custody while the driver of the commercial motor vehicle stayed at the scene. Their names weren't immediately released.

DPS officials said the department’s vehicular crimes unit were investigating the fatal incident.

Avra Valley woman accused of shooting her son dies in jail

TUCSON – A 71-year-old Avra Valley woman accused of shooting and wounding her son last week before barricading herself in a house has died, Pima County authorities said Monday.

County sheriff’s officials said Sandra Judson was found unresponsive in a medical housing unit at the county jail around 5 a.m. Saturday.

They said there were no signs of trauma or suspicious circumstances and Judson was pronounced dead at a Tucson hospital.

Sheriff’s officials said Judson was arrested last Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder after an hours-long standoff.

Judson’s son was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. His age wasn’t released by authorities and neither was a possible motive for the shooting.

Sheriff’s officials said Judson was armed with a gun during the barricaded situation. After several hours, a warrant was obtained and SWAT entered the Avra Valley residence and took Judson into custody.

Judson was then taken to a hospital for unrelated medical issues before being booked into jail.

Phoenix mom whose girls went missing accused of child abuse

PHOENIX – A Phoenix woman has been arrested on suspicion of child abuse after her two young children were reported missing for hours before being found safe, police said Monday.

According to court documents, 40-year-old Ashleigh Nicole Williams told police she took some drugs and passed out in the girls’ bedroom upstairs while the kids were playing downstairs.

Police said Williams told officers she last saw the children inside the apartment around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. At some point while Williams was passed out, the girls left the apartment.

Court documents show Williams woke up because the children’s father was yelling over the baby monitor and remote camera system he had been monitoring on his cell phone while he was out of town.

The two sisters – ages 3 and 4 – were reported missing about 2 a.m. Sunday. They were both found some 10 hours later at a YMCA with a neighborhood woman who knows the girls and their mother.

According to court paperwork, the unidentified woman located the children outside the apartment Saturday night but could not wake Williams so she took the kids to a friend’s place nearby.

2 found dead inside Tempe home after fire

TEMPE – Two people have been found dead in a fire that tore through a Tempe home.

Tempe fire officials say the deadly blaze erupted sometime around 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Police say flames were coming from almost every window when multiple crews showed up.

Once the fire was finally extinguished, firefighters found two bodies in the home.

Television footage shows the one-story house completely gutted with a partially collapsed roof.

Authorities have not officially identified the two fatalities. Neighbors say an elderly woman and her adult daughter lived in the house.

It appears the home had no working smoke detectors. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Tucson police arrest woman over fatal fight

TUCSON – A woman has been arrested in connection with a fight last week that left a man dead, according to Tucson police.

They said witness interviews and forensic evidence led them to identify 33-year-old Tanya Lynn Aranda as a suspect in last Tuesday night’s fatal fight.

Police said they located Aranda on Saturday and she was booked into the Pima County jail on suspicion of one count of first-degree murder and an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.

It was unclear Sunday if Aranda has a lawyer yet who can speak on her behalf.

Police responded to a report of a physical fight in midtown Tucson and found 43-year-old Jesus Camacho with obvious signs of trauma.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they believe Camacho was involved in a verbal confrontation that turned physical.

New Mexico police ID Arizonans killed in car crash

FARMINGTON, N.M. – Two Arizona residents who died in a vehicle crash on the Navajo reservation have been identified, according to New Mexico State Police.

They said 50-year-old Michael McCraren of Tucson and 28-year-old Hannah Cornelson of Surprise were killed in the Oct. 5 head-on collision.

Police said an unidentified 27-year-old man from Surprise was driving a sports car on Navajo Route 5 when the vehicle drifted into oncoming traffic for an unknown reason.

The car crashed into an SUV driven by McCraren, who was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

A 48-year-old Tucson woman riding in McCraren’s vehicle was injured and flown to an Albuquerque hospital.

Police said Cornelson was the passenger in the sports car and later died from her injuries in a Farmington hospital. The driver also was injured.

They said alcohol doesn’t appear to be a contributing factor in the crash.

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