NOGALES, Ariz. – A city police officer was shot dead by a carjacking suspect on Friday afternoon. The suspect was arrested shortly thereafter, according to the department.
Nogales police officer Jesus Cordova was being transferred in critical condition to the Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson after being shot, but the helicopter crew had to return to try. to stabilize it, said police chief Roy Bermudez. He said Cordova, 44, died at Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales at about 4 pm
He leaves behind a fiancée who is pregnant and three children, Bermudez said.
"We are in mourning as a department, as a community," the police chief said, choking as he spoke at a press conference on Friday night.
Cordova was the first Nogales police officer shot to death in 130 years, since Special Officer Hank Frost was killed in 1888.
The police department said Cordova responded at 2:41 p.m. to a report of car theft in the 2900 block of North Grand Avenue. The officer located a vehicle that was moving away from the scene and started a traffic stop.
The driver got out of his vehicle and shot Cordova on Grand and West Mesa Verde Drive, said Officer Oscar Mesta, a spokesman for the department.
Then, the man hijacked another vehicle from the scene and left. Moments later, the man hijacked a third vehicle in the area of North Frank Reed Road.
The suspect was in the area of West Mariposa Road and Frank Reed Road. He fled the law enforcement officers again and then got out of the vehicle and escaped. It was located in a trailer park, where he was finally arrested.
The suspect arrested is David Ernesto Murillo, 28, of Tempe, the police department said.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said that Córdoba used to work as a deputy in his department. Bermudez said that Cordova had worked at the NPD for a year, after 11 years with the sheriff's office.
Broken glass was scattered on the driver's side of the Nogales police vehicle. The vehicle was stopped at an uncomfortable angle one block from Grand Avenue, one of the main streets of Nogales.
More than 10 wrappings were found at the site, Bermudez said. The Arizona Department of Public Safety takes over the investigation.
A man who stopped to talk near the scene of the crime, Carlos Silva, said that during the last 10 years Cordova would take his patrol car to clean it where Silva worked. Silva said Córdoba was "very sociable and courteous." He was also "clean and professional" and that "it seemed that he was serving the client, not a policeman," Silva said.
Cordova was known as "Big Chuy" "And he played football at Nogales High School," Silva said.
Gob. Doug Ducey ordered that the flags of all the state buildings be lowered to half-staff on Monday, April 30 in honor of the fallen officer.
"My prayers and my condolences go to the family of Officer Cordova, to his loved ones and to the entire community of Nogales," Ducey said in a written statement.
"This tragedy is a solemn reminder of the sacrifices that police officers make every day to keep our communities safe"