Thursday, April 14, 2011



Pinal County shooting in desert leaves 1 dead, 1 wounded
by Jack Highberger - Apr. 14, 2011 09:00 AM
The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

One man was found dead and another man believed to be an illegal
immigrant was wounded early Thursday morning after a shooting in the
Vekol Valley, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

12 people in 3 vehicles arrested during traffic stop
At about 2:15 a.m., a DPS officer responding to a 911 call at a rest
stop near near mile post 150 and Interstate 8 found a man with a
gunshot wound. The 35-year-old victim told deputies he was travelling
through the desert with 14 others when they stopped to rest. The
wounded man said they were approached by another group of individuals
who opened fire on them.

The victim said he took off running after being shot and stopped at
the rest area to alert authorities, according to the sheriff's
office. The man was taken by helicopter to an area hospital.

Authorities discovered the body of the other victim, also believed to
be about 35, during a search of the area by Pinal County deputies and
Department of Public Safety units. Border Patrol units also
participated at the request of the sheriff's office.

It is believed the shooting occurred near Antelope Peak, about 25
miles west of Casa Grande, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities are continuing to look for the remaining 13 people while
deputies attempt to secure the scene - rugged desert terrain about 45
miles south of Phoenix frequented by human and drug smugglers. "This
is a very vast area with lots of places to hide," Pinal County
Sheriff's Office spokesman Tim Gaffney. "The bad guys know this area
as well as we do."

Other members of the party might not want to be found, authorities said.

Gaffney said it is too early to speculate about whether the group
that was attacked was part of a drug or human smuggling ring, or why
it was targeted, Gaffney said.
"Our primary focus is to get them medical help," he said.

Arizona Republic reporter J.J. Hensley contributed to this story.

Second man found shot in Pinal County drug corridor by
(April 14th, 2011 @ 10:15am)
Officers flood area along I-8 where a man was shot early Thursday.
(Photo courtest 3TV)

MARICOPA, Ariz. -- A man has been found shot to death in a drug
corridor south of Phoenix by authorities searching for suspects in a
shooting reported hours earlier.

Tim Gaffney of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said the victim was
an adult male. His body was found in the same area where a 35-year-
old man from Mexico was found wounded earlier Thursday.

"We are still searching by ground and air for any additional victims,
witnesses or suspects," Gaffney said.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety received a 9-1-1 call about
2:15 a.m. Thursday about a shooting victim at a reststop along
Interstate 8 in the Vekol Valley south of the town of Maricopa,
according to 3TV.

Gaffney said officers responding to the call found a man shot in the
abdomen. He was flown to a Scottsdale hospital.

"What that individual told us is he was traveling with a group of 12
to 15 individuals," Gaffney said. "They stopped and set up camp.
Another group of individuals came in and started shooting at them. As
soon as he was shot, he took off running, made it to the rest stop,
called his daughter, then called us."
Gaffney said the shooting was in the high-crime Antelope Peak area.

"We have quite a few of our vehicle pursuits happen in the area. It's
the same area where Deputy (Louie) Puroll was shot at, we had two
individuals who were killed last year in the same area."
He said the area was locked down and Pinal County sheriff's deputies
were joined by DPS and Border Patrol officers at daylight in the

The body of the dead man was found around 8 a.m.

Watch 3TV video of shooting scene:

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