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Pima County Deputy Struggling With Paralysis After Teen Stabs Him In Spinal Cord

Pima County, AZ – A Pima County sheriff’s deputy was repeatedly stabbed in the spine while responding to a call from a male who threatened to kill law enforcement officers.

The incident began at approximately 6:50 p.m. on March 12, when the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) received a 911 call from an unknown male later identified as 17-year-old Zakareya Ibrahim, KGUN reported.

According to a report compiled by the Pima County Regional Critical Incident Team, the teen repeatedly threatened police and expressed his desire to harm them, The Arizona Republic reported.

“I want to kill all you,” Ibrahim said during the 911 call. “I have scissors.”

Investigators said that when PCSD Deputy Eduardo Toral responded to the 3900-block of South Rocky Peak Court to Investigate the call, Ibrahim began pelting his patrol vehicle with rocks, KGUN reported.

Deputy Toral, a one-year veteran of the PCSD, remained in his vehicle and repeatedly ordered Ibrahim to show his hands, but the violent suspect refused, according to investigators.

The suspect then approached the deputy’s open driver’s side door and repeatedly stabbed him with a pair of scissors, plunging them into his spinal cord, shoulder, and face, The Arizona Republic reported.

PCSD Deputy Taylor Dunn, a three-year veteran of the department, arrived at the scene as the attack was occurring and fired his duty weapon, striking Ibrahim, according to KGUN.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputy Toral was rushed to the hospital, where he remained in serious condition on March 15, Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos told KOLD.

His injuries have also left him struggling with paralysis, Sheriff Nanos said.

The sheriff said the incident unfolded rapidly, leaving Deputy Toral no time to contact a mental health crisis response team, KOLD reported.

“This thing happened so fast and unfolded so quickly, literally that young officer was in a fight for his life and did all he could, which was very little, to prevent this from happening,” Sheriff Nanos said.

He extended his condolences to Ibrahim’s family.

Ibrahim came to Tucson from Sudan with his family in 2012 and had relied on assistance from the Refugee Resource Center to adapt to life in the United States, KOLD reported.

″We’re very sad about Zakareya Ibrahim passing away,” Refugee Resource Center Co-Director Randiesia Fletcher said. “He was one of the young boys in the community that we watched grow.”

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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