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Archive for September 28th, 2010

Sheriff Paul Babeu

AZ Sheriff’s Dept Reopens Case Of Deputy Allegedly Shot By Drug Smugglers

TPM Muckraker

Eric Lach | September 27, 2010, 3:35PM

The Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office has announced that it is reopening the case of a sheriff’s deputy who was shot on April 30, after an article last week raised questions about the deputy’s story that he’d been involved in a shoot-out with drug smugglers — and just hours after telling TPM that the department stood by the original investigation.

In April, the case of Deputy Louie Puroll received widespread media attention, as it came at the height of the debate over the state’s controversial new immigration law. The tale was seized upon by anti-immigration activists to whip up support for the state’s new law. Puroll said that he was shot by drug smugglers during an altercation in the Arizona desert.

Last week, a Phoenix New Times article solicited the opinion of several experts (who were then also contacted by the Associated Press), who said that the wound suffered by Puroll looked like it had been made by a close-range shot, not one fired from 25 yards away, as Puroll had claimed.

“Two individuals reported to a Phoenix media outlet that they felt Deputy Puroll had been shot at a close distance (“within a couple of inches”) and not at a distance as the investigation has determined,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “In an effort to maintain the transparency of our criminal investigation, we are reopening this case.”

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