PHOENIX – A police officer from Nogales was killed after being the policeman Jesus "Chuy" Cordova, 44, died on Friday, police said.
It is the first officer death in the city in nearly 129 years, underscoring the shock that echoes through this closely-knit border community.
Cordova joined the department in May 2017. Previously, he worked as a detective at the Sheriff Office of Santa Cruz County for more than a decade.
Cordova leaves behind three children and a fiancé who is five months pregnant, said Nogales police chief Roy Bermudez.
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Police identified the alleged shooter as David Ernesto Murillo, 28, of Tempe. He is in police custody and the officers said they would not look for anyone.
"We mourn for one department and one community," Bermudez said during an emotional Friday night press conference, where his voice sometimes broke and tears.
David Ernesto Murillo (Photo: Nogales Police Department)
Bermudez said the tragic encounter began Friday afternoon with a report of a caravan near the city of Patagonia 29 km northwest of Nogales , Murillo avoided the deputies of Santa Cruz County, said the police chief and landed in Nogales.
Cordova responded to an armed carjacking at around 14:45. Friday, according to police
The police said the suspect had left the scene when the officer tried to stop the car, the police said.
Murillo left the car before firing several shots at Cordova in his patrol car, police said. The investigators may have found 10 shells and found that the officer was hit several times, although the exact number is unknown, Bermudez said.
The Nogales fire department treated Cordova and tried to take him to a Tucson hospital he stabilized, the chief said. Instead, they took him to a local hospital where he died of his injuries.
In the meantime, Murillo has stolen a second car before escaping from the scene, police said.
After the alleged shooter stole a third car, officers from several law enforcement agencies arrested him without incident in a caravan park.
"I'm frustrated, I'm crazy, so many feelings are coming through me right now," Bermudez said on Friday night.
Although Cordova was with the department for less than a year, Bermudez described him as a model officer.
"I was glad to take him in for his reputation," Bermudez said of his decision to hire Cordova. "The Nogales Police Department community will miss him and lose a big officer."
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey expressed his condolences to Cordova's family and relatives. He ordered that all state flags fly at half-time on Monday.
"This tragedy is a solemn reminder of the victims who make the police daily Keep our communities safe, "Ducey said in a tweet.
So far, investigators have published very few details about Murillo. But records show that he has lived in Tempe and Nogales, and he has family in both areas.
He also had several run-ins with the law, including some driving-related incidents, and a misdemeanor drug crime in Santa Cruz County.
Many residents of Nogales said they were stunned by the shots and shocked that something like this would happen here.
"That's why I moved here, it's so peaceful," said Hossana Real. "I used to be in Phoenix and here now, it's beautiful here and this is the first time I was surprised when it happened, frankly."
Real cooked in her food truck north of Cordova when she said she had heard several shots. "I lost the count after six," she added.
The Mayor of Nogales, John Doyle, reiterated the comments of local residents, explaining that Nogales was one of the safest communities in the state.
He expressed his sympathy for Cordova's family and the police. But he also said he was glad nobody else had been hurt.
"I think they have done a great job to ensure that the rest of the community is protected and there are no more tragedies," he said.
Inhabitants of Nogales populated the I-19 overpasses to pay tribute to the murdered officer, Jesus Cordova.
Rafael Carranza, The Republic | azcentral.com
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