‘Really horrific incident’: 5 shot by suspect in apparent ambush on emergency responders

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TUCSON, AZ – A shooting incident across multiple locations in South Tucson left has five persons, including emergency responders, shot by a suspect.

According to KGUN9, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus reported that the incident began at approximately 3:45 pm on Sunday, July 18, with a call about a house fire in the 2100 block of East Irene Vista.

At that time, an ambulance was already staged in nearby Quincie Douglas Park for an unrelated medical call, and the crew there began preparing to assist with the house fire.

According to KOLD, a 35-year-old unnamed suspect pulled up to the ambulance in a silver SUV. He opened fire on the driver’s side of the ambulance, hitting the 20-year-old driver in the head and the 21-year-old passenger in the chest and arm.

The passenger, who is in stable condition, was able to call for assistance and provide a description of the suspect and his vehicle.

KOLD reports that the driver is in listed critical condition.

Meanwhile, KOLD also reports, the house fire was burning on East Irene Vista, with multiple Tucson Fire Department trucks on scene and neighbors attempting to assist.

The suspect then arrived at the fire scene and again began shooting, this time striking a fire captain and two neighbors.

The fire captain suffered a wound to the arm and is in good condition.  Likewise, a neighbor who was grazed in the head was listed in good condition.

However, another neighbor was shot in the head by the suspect, and was killed.

KGUN9 reports that an officer responding to a call to the scene of the fire and shootings came across the suspect while en route.  The suspect rammed the officer’s vehicle, and the suspect then began shooting at the officer.

The officer, an 8-year-veteran of the Tucson Police Department, returned fire, wounding the suspect.  The suspect was transported to a nearby hospital and is listed in “very critical condition.”

According to KOLD, there was one deceased individual recovered from the house fire, “but it was too burned to determine the age or sex of the victim.”

In addition, “two or three children” who reside at the home were reported missing after the fire, but police stated that fortunately they were found safe on Monday, July 19.

Tucson Chief Magnus told reporters in a press conference:

“This is both a highly tragic, really horrific incident with many unknowns at this time that’s going to involve a lengthy and complex investigation, because when you think about it again, there are three crime scenes here.

“There is the residence on Irene.  There is the park over here, Quincie Douglas Park.  And then, there is the intersection on Campbell just behind us where the officer was rammed and the gunfire went on between the suspect and the officer.”

He continued:

“This is sad.  A really horrific incident, and, you know, our hearts go out to families that are obviously concerned about their loved ones associated with the more serious injuries.”

City of Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said in a tweeted statement:

“I ask our entire Tucson community to join me in thinking about and praying for the victims of this afternoon’s fire and shooting by Silverlake Park, including first responders from AMR and the Tucson Fire Department. 

“This was a horrific and senseless act of violence.”

There is no reported motive for the shootings at this time.

The investigation into these shootings and the house fire is ongoing.  Please continue to follow Law Enforcement Today for continuing updates on these tragic events.

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Tucson police chief lays out list of calls police will no longer respond to – blames ‘staffing shortage’

March 11, 2021

TUCSON, AZ- As with many police departments nationwide, who are seeing a staffing shortage as police officers tire of being targeted not only by criminals but by politicians, and who also flee for greener pastures, the city of Tucson, Arizona is facing a crippling shortage of police officers, and now the department has been forced to make some tough decisions.

Among those is a significant list of calls where a police officer will no longer respond.

According to the Herald Review, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus last week told officers and staff in an internal email that officers will no longer be responding to a long list of calls starting in the near future.

Magnus confirmed the contents of the email to the Green Valley News and noted that, “Call demand far exceeds the number of officers available to address it.”

That situation may very well worsen with the overwhelming influx of illegals entering the state from Mexico due to an out-of-control border fueled by Biden administration policies.

A year this past January, Magnus told a Tucson city council study session that the department’s pay lagged some 13.4 percent below that of surrounding agencies, and he would need an additional $10.6 million per year just to break even in making up the difference.

For example, he said last year a Phoenix-area town, Queen Creek decided to start its own police department, and was only accepting lateral hires in building the department. He noted that city’s base pay for officers with three to four years of experience is $19,000 higher than that of Tucson, plus an additional $2,000 hiring bonus.

Magnus told the city council members, “Departments want to hire our cops,” while adding that Tucson is losing sworn staff “at a troubling rate.”

As of Jan 1, 2020, Tucson had a force of 853 sworn officers, which dwindled to 813 a year later, a rate of losing about 8.5 officers per month. At that rate, Magnus told the council they’ll be down to 709 by Jan. 1, 2024.

Magnus’ email, sent last Thursday said the reduction in calls responded to would be phased in over the near term, however following is a list of calls which police will no longer respond to:

  • Contraband at schools, hospitals and courts (with the exception of firearms);
  • Deaths at medical care facilities;
  • Non-criminal homeless calls on public property;
  • Loud music/loud noise calls (with the exception of large parties, which they will still respond to;
  • Medical check welfare;
  • Uncooperative victims at hospitals;
  • Non-criminal transports (medical, detox, shelter, etc.).

Those changes are effective immediately. Phased in down the road, calls which will no longer get a police response include:

  • Code enforcement calls;
  • Trespassers inside certain abandoned properties;
  • Civil matters (landlord-tenant disputes, child custody issues);
  • Runaways;
  • Mental health check welfares;
  • Suicidal subjects;
  • Panhandling, UIP, DIP (urination/defecation in public);
  • Financial crimes;
  • Abandoned line: Magnus noted this would require the response of CMT’s (Crisis Mobile Teams)

Magnus noted that many of these calls shouldn’t have warranted a police response in the first place, he told the Green Valley News.

“It’s a gradual transition and many of these are things we shouldn’t have been responding to in the first place,” he said.

“There is no easy way to do this,” he wrote in his email., while announcing that traffic safety officers would also be delegated to spend half their time responding to calls for service; a majority of prison transport officers will return to patrol; some academy staff will return to patrol; and the majority of the mayor’s security detail will return to the streets.

In a Facebook post, the Tucson Police Officers’ Association (TPOA) noted that the staffing shortages have resulted in severe delays to over 1,012 burglaries over the past year.

They said that a majority of burglary victims waited at least four hours to speak with an officer and noted that one victim in fact waited for 23 hours.

 

In a statement to KGUN, one union spokesperson told the outlet:

“It really delays our response to the community, which means we lose evidence scattering, we lose time in the suspect being further away or ahead of us. And then as our standard goes down, we’re going to see cuts to our proactive, preventative strategies.”

The outlet reported that the Tucson PD needs about 1,000 sworn officers in order to effectively operate.

“Staffing itself affects our morale and then also, it’s everything,” the TPOA spokesman told KGUN. It’s the equipment. It’s the overall feeling that we’re not investing in public safety the way we should and that drives down morale across the board.”

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