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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_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    Lots of ??? here...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    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.

    I'm going to side with the officer on this. No burn marks or stippling on shirt or body, so unless he's really the longest arm of the law, there's just no way it was self inflicted.

    My big question is why in the hell was he put out in a heavy narco traffic zone by himself looking for people that won't even think twice about killing a cop.

  • John_groh_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Hey Sarge is right, we need to watch how this goes. I have known Officers who have staged things to make them look like heros. None of them have LEO jobs now. Hopefully this Officer is on the up and up. Time will tell.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump HEYSARGE.

  • Big_bad_pig_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    You're right Robo, if it doesn't further the liberal media's agenda, they simply don't run it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    When all the testing proves the Officer was not making up the story, those who asked for further investigation should be held responsable for all costs. Maybe then they would have a better ability to keep their mouths shut.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    bump HEYSARGE.

  • 1979_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    At least one of these ME's is a media whore who loves to get his face plastered on TV. I now read that they based their 'investigation on "Photos"! I am glad the Sheriff is re-opening the case so that they can check for powder reside etc and prove the Deputy was truthful. Would you like to put a bet on if the Deputy actually did lie it will be national news but if these two "ME's" are proven full of it, not a word will be mentioned except for what the Sheriff puts out? I hope that they clear this Deputy quickly and that they MAKE these two make a public apology. Then I hope this Deputy sues the hell out of both of them.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    and one would have to ask, why?

  • Adp_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Hopefully it's not BS. Secondly, perhaps a back-wax is in order bro.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump HEYSARGE. Let it all play out.

  • Vpsomourningband_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump HEYSARGE!

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Let it all play out.......It stinks for a reason!

  • Thinker_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I hope this allegation of a hoax is not true...

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