Arizona Deputy ‘Ambushed’ ? Maricopa County Sheriff is ready to fight back after a gunman opened fire on one of his deputies.
A man was arrested after several shots were fired from outside the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office District 3 substation at a deputy who was inside the building’s bulletproof glass front doors Friday afternoon, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
No one was hurt, and there was no motive for the incident. It was not known whether the deputy was targeted.
The suspect was identified Friday night as Jonathan David Perez, 39. No other information about him was given.
“We’re trying to get to the bottom of this,” Arpaio said.
According to the sheriff, a deputy was entering the building around 3:45 p.m. when the man drove a car into the parking lot, got out, walked toward the front doors and began firing. It was not immediately known how many shots were fired, but reports from the scene indicated at least bullet markings were seen on the glass.
“He got out and shot at the building several times. Fortunately, it is protected, and the deputy was on the inside. There was another deputy inside who was about to come out, and he could have been shot,” Arpaio explained.
At that moment, an MCSO sergeant happened to pull up to the building, saw the scene unfolding and ordered the man to drop his weapon. The suspect complied and was immediately placed under arrest.
There were indications Perez may have planned greater harm.
In addition to the gun he was carrying, deputies recovered a knapsack containing ammunition and a semiautomatic weapon.
“It could have been worse for him and for us,” Arpaio said.
Investigators interviewed Perez, and late Friday night he was taken from the area to the Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix.
“I’m a little concerned; this is right next to our beautiful retirement community, Sun City West and near Sun City, but no one has to worry. He’s under arrest,” the sheriff added.
The substation serves one of seven districts patrolled by the Sheriff’s Office and is staffed by 50 deputies, detectives and administrative personnel, according to MCSO, though the number of people in the building at any one time is usually much less.
District Three covers roughly 1,600 square miles bordered by Interstate 17 on the east, La Paz county on the west, Northern Ave. on the south and Yavapai county on the north. The building houses personnel lockers, offices and holding cells.
The shooting came on the heels of a drive-by incident in Tempe earlier this month that left a deputy with non-life-threatening wounds.
The deputy was part of a Cinco de Mayo weekend DUI enforcement detail and was walking from a vehicle that had been stopped to his own vehicle around 2 a.m. May 7, when someone in a passing vehicle fired several shots at the deputy, striking him at least once in the lower body. He was treated at a hospital but has since been released.
“I don’t know if there’s war against my office. There is a war against cops. I’ve been saying that for some time. Something’s wrong in this country right now. Some people would rather put cops in jail than defend them,” the sheriff said.