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Arizona Troopers Ambushed By Teen With AK-47

Phoenix, AZ – Two Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) detectives were ambushed by an AK-47- wielding 17-year-old gunman on Thursday morning, according to police.

The brazen attack occurred as the detectives were assisting other troopers who were conducting a criminal investigation in the area of Portland Street and 37th Avenue at approximately 8:53 a.m. on Sept. 17, The Epoch Times reported.

“Our detectives were wearing police attire – easily identifiable as police officers,” DPS Captain Jesse Galvez told KSAZ.

Police said that a silver, four-door Infiniti suddenly pulled up near the detectives’ unmarked patrol vehicle and honked the horn, KTVK reported.

As one of the troopers began exiting the vehicle, the passenger in the silver car raised an AK-47 and opened fire on them, DPS Director Colonel Heston Silbert told reporters.

“He was ambushed,” Col. Silbert said, according to The Epoch Times. “Our trooper was clearly visible in his vest that said ‘police.’ There was no question it was an ambush and he was identifiable as a police officer.”

“Had the trooper not had the wherewithal and the ability to quickly exit his vehicle and engage the suspect, undoubtedly, he would have been shot or killed,” the colonel added, according to KSAZ.

The detectives returned fire as the suspect vehicle sped away from the scene, leaving the 17-year-old gunman behind, KTVK reported.

Police said that the shooter threw the gun onto the ground and tried to run away on foot, but that he was quickly taken down and arrested, according to KSAZ.

He has since been identified as 17-year-old Luis German Espinoza Acuña.

Police are still searching for the driver of the silver Infiniti G-37, which they believe was a model from sometime between 2008 and 2013, The Epoch Times reported.

Investigators said that the suspect’s vehicle had a temporary paper license plate and custom chrome wheels, according to KTVK.

No one was injured in the ambush attack.

DPS issued a Blue Alert just after 12:30 p.m., KTVK reported.

Some residents received another alert shortly before 8:30 p.m.

“AZDPS did not issue a second Blue Alert. We understand some people received a second alert this evening, and we believe this is an issue limited to a specific service provider,” the department explained in a tweet.

The ambush occurred just days after a gunman shot a federal court security officer in a drive-by attack outside the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse on the corner of Washington Street and Fourth Avenue, KTAR reported.

The attack occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m., according to police.

The bullet hit the security officer’s ballistic vest, resulting in non-life threatening injuries, the Associated Press reported.

The accused gunman was arrested later that afternoon, according to the Phoenix Patch.

“I’m disgusted by the actions of people toward law enforcement that I’ve seen take place in this country over the past several months,” Col. Silber said after the shooting outside the courthouse, according to The Epoch Times.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez said that in his entire career, he has “never seen anything like this.”

“There’s this unspeakable theme that’s going on in our country right now and involving police officers, not just the shooting and killing of them, but targeting by street gangs, officers that are that are threatened with intimidation through social media, receiving threats when involved in shootings, regardless of the circumstances,” Marshal Gonzalez said.

He said it is time for elected officials and community leaders to “stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to take this anymore,’” The Epoch Times reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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