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Case of Arizona Deputy's Shooting Reopened

Case of Arizona Deputy's Shooting Reopened

Louis Puroll | Pinal County Deputy Purrol's bloody T-shirt/submitted photo

Associated Press

September 29, 2010

PHOENIX — Arizona officials on Monday reopened the investigation into a deputy’s explanation of how he was shot in the remote desert south of Phoenix amid speculation it was a hoax timed to enflame the debate over illegal immigration.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office announced its decision Monday after two nationally known forensic pathologists raised questions about a wound the deputy suffered.

Pinal County Deputy Louie Puroll told investigators he was following a group of smugglers carrying bales of marijuana April 30 when he was ambushed by men firing AK-47 rifles. In what Puroll described as a running gunbattle, he was grazed by a bullet in the back.

The pathologists, Dr. Michael Baden of New York and Dr. Werner Spitz of suburban Detroit, examined photos of the wound released by the sheriff’s office. They told The Associated Press on Friday they concluded the bullet was fired from inches away, not at least 25 yards as Puroll said.


Close-up of Pinal County Deputy Purrol's wound on his back/submitted photo

The sheriff’s office soon after released a statement saying it stood behind the official investigation, and that physical evidence supports the deputy’s account.

But the office reopened the case Monday, saying it wants to maintain transparency.

Office spokesman Tim Gaffney said the shirt Puroll was wearing the day of the shooting is being sent to the state Department of Public Safety for testing. The department will check for gunshot residue, charring, burning or any other evidence that it was a close-range shot.

“If in fact a rifle was fired at Deputy Puroll within a couple of inches as Dr. Baden and Dr. Spitz have concluded, burn marks and residue will be present on the shirt,” Gaffney said.

The sheriff’s office said Friday there were no burn marks on Puroll’s shirt and that his wound had no stippling, which is caused from burnt gunpowder coming from the barrel of a gun fired at close range.

But Baden said Puroll’s shirt did appear to have powder burns.


Pinal County Deputy Purrol's wound/submitted photo

The sheriff’s office said Monday it consulted with Dr. Phil Keen, former chief medical examiner for Maricopa County, about the other pathologists’ opinions. He said Keen disagreed but that he would need the results of tests on the shirt to confirm his opinion.

Puroll’s shooting fueled an already blazing debate in Arizona and the nation about the dangers of immigrant and drug smugglers in southern Arizona. It came just days after Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer signed a sweeping law giving law enforcers powers to question suspected illegal immigrants and arrest them. The major parts of that law have been put on hold by a federal judge on constitutional grounds.

The shooting immediately raised questions about a deputy supposedly looking for armed drug smugglers in the remote desert without backup. A dragnet involving more than 100 officers in the rugged mountainous area about 50 miles south of Phoenix found no suspects and no bales of marijuana.

The area is a well-known smuggling corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants headed from Mexico to Phoenix and the U.S. interior.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Dr. Michael Baden of New York is the best in the business! The evidence will lead to the truth and I'll take the advice of lawman1214, however I think Deputy Purrol needs confession on Saturday...Blue

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump HEYSARGE...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Whalewatcher; Maybe you need to stick to watching your girl friend swim the ocean instead of arm-chair- QB'ing thinigs you don't no about.

  • Meangreen01_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I've seen the question a lot, "why would he be in a heavy narco area searching by himself?"

    Having worked in the same area for the first part of my career and having worked with MCSO, it is quite common for them to be solo... doing things the only way you can sometimes. Here in AZ the ranges are open and the backup is scarce. You just do your job and rely on God to back you up. It is very common to see Border Patrol, BLM officers, and sheriff's deputies working alone. It takes a certain amount of grit to work the desert.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I hope the deputy is proven right, but I think it's best to wait and see about this. Like others have said, I'm bothered by the fact the deputy was patroling a well known, heavily travelled drug smuggling corridor by himself.

  • Jack_bauer_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I'm no expert, but if the black marks the media is saying is power burns, then they were be more spread out, not just along the wound....I looks like bruising and poor lighting to me.

  • Justice-400_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Weird. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

  • Strafzettel_max50


    almost 4 years ago



  • My_kids_027_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I'm interested to see the final outcome of this one.

  • shadow_officer

    almost 4 years ago


    very interesting

  • White_shirt_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    wiseass0282 U da man. I agree. Interesting

  • Snapshot_20111212_9_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I'm not going to comment until we see the conclusion of this investigation. This is interesting.

  • 000000000000000aaaaaaaaaa_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump canemah

  • 180px-chp_4th_gen_camaro_in_traditional_colors_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I understand investigating this and re-opening it just to make sure. But I don't see any need to make it public, unless they did find something that would have proved it was set up, and after the 2nd investigation is over.
    Now a bunch of people are going to think he did fake this, even though the new investigation isn't done yet.

    Shouldn't announce anything until after the new investigation is over IMO.

    Maybe they have to? I'm not sure.

  • Cpd_250_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I agree with several peoples comments there are defenitely a lot of quaestions to be answered....want to see how it plays out.....

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