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Hero Down: Pima County Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay Murdered While Serving Eviction Notice

Tucson, AZ – Pima County Constable’s Office (PCCO) Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay was murdered in the line of duty while serving an eviction notice on Aug. 25.

The fatal attack occurred at the Lind Commons Apartment Complex located at 3493 East Lind Road at approximately 11:15 a.m., CBS News reported.

Constable Martinez-Garibay, 43, responded to the apartment complex to meet up with the property manager, 28-year-old Angela Fox-Heath, so they could serve an eviction notice on 24-year-old Gavin Lee Stansell, according to police.

But when they reached Stansell’s apartment and attempted to serve the notice, Stansell allegedly opened fire on them, CBS News reported.

Police raced to the scene and found Fox-Heath lying in the courtyard, according to The Arizona Republic.

She succumbed to her wounds at the scene.

A SWAT team responded to the apartment complex and entered Stansell’s residence, where they located Constable Martinez-Garibay, CBS News reported.

The constable was also pronounced dead at the scene.

Stansell was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the apartment, according to police.

Investigators also discovered that the suspect had entered his neighbor’s home, where he fatally shot 25-year-old Elijah Miranda, CBS News reported.

According to an eviction complaint filed in Pima County Consolidated Justice Court on Aug. 15, Stansell allegedly threatened other residents at the complex with a gun on July 27.

A hearing in that matter was slated to take place on Aug. 22, but the suspect failed to show up, CBS News reported.

Constable Martinez-Garibay, a U.S. Army veteran, served the PCCO for five months and one week, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

She enlisted in the U.S. army in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and served multiple tours in Afghanistan during her 16-year military career, CBS News reported.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff at all state buildings in honor of Constable Martinez-Garibay’s life of service.

“The loss of Constable Deborah Martinez is felt across our state,” Ducey said in a statement, according to CBS News. “Whether it was serving in the U.S. Army or carrying out her duties as a constable for Pima County, she dedicated her life to helping others and her community.”

The governor said Constable Martinez-Garibay “will be remembered for the way she treated others with dignity and respect,” CBS News reported.

A procession of first responders escorted the slain constable’s body from the scene on Thursday night.

Pima County Constable Thomas Schenek said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened and at a profound loss for words” in the wake of the triple homicide, The Arizona Republic reported.

“We all know that the job of an Arizona constable comes with risk, but we go about our business with caution and professionalism and treat all with whom we come in contact with respect and dignity,” the PCCO said in a statement. “Constable Martinez gave her life in that service and we honor her for her dedication to duty and public service.”

Constable Martinez-Garibay leaves behind her husband, daughter, parents, sisters, nieces, and nephews, according to her obituary.

She will be laid to rest on Sept. 1.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Pima County Constable’s Office Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay, your life mattered.

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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