An Arizona detention officer was shot outside his home while tinkering with his truck before he left for work, leaving behind a wife and a 5-year-old son. He died a short time later.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio identified the victim as 27-year-old Jorge Vargas, and said he was shot early in the morning of Aug. 8. Vargas had worked in the Maricopa jail system and, said Arpaio, was wearing his work uniform when he was shot.
The suspect has not been identified, although Arpaio said witnesses saw an Hispanic man in his 20s wearing a white shirt.
“We are on a main mission to find this guy and send him to jail,” said Arpaio.
ABC Affiliate KNXV-TV reported that the neighbors heard shots fired and discovered a wounded Vargas. One of the neighbors described the experience as frighteningly surreal.
“You know, it was so close, it could have been my life. I just hate that it was him, you know? Because he had a family, a young wife, a baby, all left behind because an individual wanted to bring harm on this man,” the neighbor, who was not identified, told KNXV-TV.
Arpaio said Vargas had worked as an officer in the prison system, which he described as a notoriously difficult job. He had been working there for about seven years, Arpaia said.
Kevin Morse, who worked with Vargas at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, said Vargas was a “good guy.”
The Phoenix Police Department is investigating the incident, said Arpaio. The Phoenix Police could not be reached for comment.
Arpaio announced that he would now be requiring all of his deputy sheriffs to carry guns 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Watch out, we’re ready for battle and we’re going to take whatever action we need to stop this carnage against law enforcement officers,” said Arpaio.