Metro Phoenix deputy on life support; suspect led manhunt

By Jill Ryan
Associated Press
Published: Monday, October 11, 2021 - 10:46am
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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Juan Miguel Ruiz

A suspect who allegedly assaulted and gravely injured metro Phoenix sheriff’s deputy Juan Miguel Ruiz has been shot and wounded by a homeowner with whom he had a history of conflicts, authorities said Sunday.

Maricopa County sheriff’s officials said the suspect was hospitalized, while the deputy was on life support, but is not expected to survive. Sheriff Paul Penzone said at a Monday press conference that the family has indicated that they will donate his organs. Sgt. Calbert Gillett of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said in an email "Deputy Ruiz succumbed to his injuries. However, he remains on life support in order to harvest his organs."

The suspect was shot Saturday night at a home in Tonopah, some 52 miles west of Phoenix.

The manhunt for the suspect began around 11 a.m. Saturday after allegedly attacking a deputy who was processing the suspect on multiple felony warrants at a substation in suburban Avondale, about 18 miles west of Phoenix, according to authorities.

Sheriff’s officials said Ruiz, a three-year veteran of the department, was found unconscious and bleeding from the face and rushed to a hospital.

"The suspect beat him unconscious," Penzone said at the Monday press conference. 

The suspect took the deputy’s SUV, crashed through a fence and fled the area before allegedly stealing another vehicle and driving to Tonopah, according to authorities.

Penzone said at a news conference Saturday night that the suspect and the unidentified homeowner had a history of conflict, but he didn’t release any details.

The suspect was released from an Arizona prison in December after serving time for attempted child molestation, Penzone added.

It wasn't immediately known if there was a lawyer who could speak on the suspect's behalf.

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