Sheriff Babeu: Test backs deputy who says smugglers shot him
Is the Arizona Department of Public Safety considered independent of a county in Arizona? I’m still skeptical.
FLORENCE - Independent testing of a bloodied shirt backs up the story of a deputy who contends he was shot by drug smugglers in the remote desert, officials said Thursday. The deputy dismissed speculation that he staged the incident to publicize drug and human smuggling.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said the Arizona Department of Public Safety concluded that a bullet passed through the shirt but that no gunpowder was found on it. The Sheriff’s Office said testing confirms the bullet was fired from far away, as Deputy Louie Puroll said it was.
“This case is now closed, and we’re going to move on,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said.
The Sheriff’s Office reopened the investigation into Puroll’s shooting on Sept. 27 and sent the shirt for testing following comments from two forensic pathologists that the bullet was fired from inches away, not from at least 25 yards as Puroll said.
Babeu said he reopened the investigation to maintain transparency and that his office has nothing to hide.
The shirt wasn’t sent to the Department of Public Safety originally because there was no indication that Puroll wasn’t telling the truth, and all the evidence backed up his story, Babeu said.