Seventeen people have been detained in the search for suspects in Fridays shooting of Pinal County Sheriffs Deputy Louis Puroll by suspected drug smugglers in an isolated area of south-central Arizona.
Pinal County Lt. Tami Villar says 14 of those detained are suspected of being illegal immigrants, while three match the description given of the shooters give by Puroll.
The 14 suspected illegal immigrants are being held by Border Patrol, while the three suspects are being questioned by the Pinal Sheriff’s office.
A massive hunt of 100 square miles that included helicopters with night-vision equipment and more than 200 officers, including SWAT teams, from 13 agencies was still pursuing the shooters late Friday.
AzCentral reports a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy was shot in the stomach Friday after a traffic stop on Interstate 8, according sheriff’s officials.
Authorities said the deputy was shot by a suspected undocumented immigrant and at least two suspects were being sought.
The deputy apparently pulled over a vehicle on Interstate 8 near Arizona 84 at about 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office dispatched a helicopter and members of its SWAT team to Pinal County to assist in the case, said MCSO Lt. Brian Lee. Lee said at 5:45 p.m. there were reports over the police scanner that suspects were shooting at a police helicopter. Lee did not know which agency was operating the helicopter.
The Border Patrol has sent agents to assist the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation, said Mario Escalante, a Border Patrol spokesman assigned to the Tucson sector.
Update – Source AZ Central.Com
Five Hispanic men authorities described as drug smugglers shot a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy Friday afternoon when the officer came upon them and a large amount of marijuana in a remote part of south-central Arizona.
The area where the shooting took place, near the intersection of Interstate 8 and Arizona 84, is considered a high-traffic drug- and human-smuggling corridor.
A massive hunt that included helicopters with night vision and more than 100 officers, including SWAT teams, and search dogs, were pursuing the shooters Friday evening. More than one helicopter came under fire as officers rescued Deputy Louie Puroll, who was shot with an AK-47-type weapon around 4 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.