Una mujer murió después de un accidente de cuatro vehículos por la calle 22 en la zona centro de Tucsón, dicen las autoridades.
La mujer conducía hacia el este en la calle 22 cuando fue impactada por un vehículo que viajaba a gran velocidad alrededor de las 12:20 p.m., dijo el sargento Pete Dugan, portavoz del Departamento de Policía de Tucsón. El accidente provocó que su camioneta saltara y rodara hacia los carriles en sentido contrarios, donde fue golpeada por otros dos vehículos, dijo Dugan.
Otra persona fue trasladada al hospital con heridas leves. Dugan dijo que un niño estaba en uno de los vehículos pero no resultó herido.
El conductor del vehículo que inicialmente golpeó el pick-up de la mujer huyó de la escena. Dugan dijo que el vehículo fue encontrado abandonado a varias cuadras del lugar de los hechos. Los oficiales siguen buscando al conductor del vehículo.
Los oficiales de policía de Tucsón cerraron la calle 22 en dirección este y oeste desde South Wilmot a South Craycroft durante algunas horas del miércoles debido al accidente.
Cualquier persona con información sobre el incidente debe llamar al 911 o al 88-CRIME, una línea anónima de información.
La investigación está en curso. La versión en inglés será actualizada.
What you missed this week in notable Tucson crimes and court cases
Tucson police work to resurrect neighborhood watch groups, community collaboration
Tucson police are working to usher in the return of neighborhood watch groups and community collaboration, in response to decreased resources in police departments across the country.
Jason Huaraque said he’s never been an “activist type of person.” But when he saw his neighborhood, Barrio Santa Cruz, being overrun by homeless people, it was unsafe for children and kept neighbors in uncomfortable isolation. Huaraque and his neighbors knew that to reclaim their neighborhood, they had to take action.
Families have lived in Barrio Santa Cruz for generations. The neighborhood is located close to downtown, is about a mile wide, has a unique, rural landscape and a long history. The homeless are drawn to it because it’s hidden, Huaraque said, and at one point, there were 16 homeless camps, either tents or shopping carts, tucked away on residential, run-down streets. About two years ago, Huaraque and his neighbors decided to resurrect their neighborhood association and have since seen tremendous transformation.
Huaraque spoke to the Star during a Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods event last month at Mission Manor Elementary School.
GAIN is an annual event held in collaboration with neighborhood associations and police departments across the state, but its efforts extend throughout the year.
Huaraque talked about the progress his neighborhood has made in terms of safety and community, much of which he said is due to collaboration between the city, for things like parks and streetlights and roads. But the Tucson Police Department has also been a go-to resource for clearing out crime in his neighborhood.
“I think for a long time we felt that the city didn’t care. Because we didn’t speak up and nothing was being done. As soon as we spoke up, everything just changed,” said Huaraque.
Over the last three years, there’s been a “concerted effort” toward police and community relationships, especially with neighborhoods, said Tucson Police Lt. Steven Simmers.
“Our role as police has expanded — even throughout my career — as far as what we’ve been asked to do. Our resources, they’ve lessened. That’s not going to change anytime soon,” said Simmers, who has been with TPD since 2001.
Simmers said that larcenies, burglaries, robberies and assaults are nearly 20% lower this year than last year, something that’s been unheard of throughout his career.
The population has grown by roughly 30,000 people in Simmers’ 18 years with TPD, and the city has always struggled with crime rate per capita compared to the rest of the state, he said.
Overall, there’s “more to do, less people to do it with,” said Simmers.
Tucson Police Sgt. William Corrales agrees: “If I could have a magic wand, I wish I had more resources,” he said at the GAIN event. “That’s why it’s so, so important to build relationships with the community. Schools, neighborhood associations, general businesses. Because they’re our eyes and ears.”
Both officers understand the importance of community engagement and collaboration. If there are conversations going on between neighborhoods and police officers, then solutions can be found, and trust can be built.
“We don’t want to over-police communities,” said Simmers. “The real danger in that is when the community feels like it’s against the police agency.”
In Huaraque’s neighborhood, residents got to meet officers who helped clean out the residential area and gave those in the homeless camps evacuation notices.
The residents of Barrio Santa Cruz have reclaimed their neighborhood. Huaraque now feels comfortable letting his kids cross the street to their grandmother’s house alone, neighbors have become actively involved in meetings and they’re once again able to use the park.
“Two years ago, before we started, nobody was going to the park because it wasn’t safe. You don’t want to take your kids to the park where there’s a grown man washing himself with the water fountain, and everyone’s doing their laundry, hanging out in the kid’s area,” Huaraque said. “Now there’s softball practice every night there, people playing basketball, they’re having parties on the weekends under the ramada.”
In October, the neighborhood hosted their second annual fiesta complete with food trucks, a car show, live music and over 500 attendees.
Sometimes the homeless return, said Huaraque, but the relationships that have been built between police and residents make the situation less overwhelming. Huaraque even has some of the officers’ personal phone numbers.
“When you take a problem to them, they find ways to get data on that to make it measurable and then they brainstorm,” said Huaraque.
With the data collected through interactions and calls, Simmers hopes to mine the data to figure out where the problems really are.
“When we identify those problems, it’s working with the community to figure out the solutions,” he said.
The relationships and outreach that police have with the community are just as important as responding to calls, Simmers said.
“We are ultimately public servants and working with the community only makes sense,” said Simmers.
Neighborhoods are also being innovative.
By revamping neighborhood watches and utilizing the online Nextdoor forum, neighborhoods are communicating and building networks of their own.
“The more active the community is, the better results we see,” said Simmers.
“You can get involved in such a simple way,” said Margie Mortimer, the secretary of Barrio Nopal. She sat across from Huaraque at the GAIN event, wearing a shirt with the word “UNITED” printed across the front.
“If I’m coming down my neighbor’s street and I see something unusual, I’ll report it,” said Mortimer, who has gotten comfortable reporting suspicious incidents to TPD. For a while, there were several break-ins that occurred in her neighborhood that wouldn’t have been identified if the residents had not communicated with one another. “That’s why you get to know who your neighbors are.”
Bomb-sniffing dog joins University of Arizona Police Department
A bomb-sniffing dog joined the University of Arizona Police Department on Friday.
UA Police Chief Brian Seastone introduced Skip, a 22-month old Labrador from Custer, Washington. Skip is trained in explosive detection, said UAPD Public Information Officer Jesus Aguilar.
UAPD Officer Lauren Connell, a 16-year veteran, will partner with Skip. UAPD has one other K9 patrol on campus, Toby, said Friday's news release from the campus police.
Skip is certified by the National Police Canine Association and was trained by Pacific Coast K-9.
Woman who shot and killed two men in home invasion arrested on drug, weapons charges
The woman who shot and killed two men police said were trying to break into her home in mid-October was arrested Monday on drug and weapons charges, officials said.
Gentry Megan McPherson, 22, was arrested on suspicion of four counts of possession of a dangerous drug for sale, possession of narcotic drugs for sale, four counts of possession of a firearm during a felony narcotic offense, and money laundering, among other drug-related charges, the Tucson Police Department said.
She was booked into the Pima County jail.
McPherson used a .38 caliber revolver to shoot the intruders as they tried to force their way into the house through a locked back door about 3:45 a.m. Oct. 16, according to a search warrant filed in Pima County Superior Court.
Corey Teixeira, 18, and Ali Mohamed, 18, were found in the backyard of the home in the 4600 block of East Duncan Street, near North Swan Road and East Grant Road.
Teixeira was pronounced dead at the scene and Mohamed died shortly after being taken to a hospital.
Mohamed was a 2019 graduate of Palo Verde High School and Teixeira was a 2019 graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School, school officials confirmed.
Detectives collected guns, drugs and several items of "evidentiary value" during the initial search of the home, police said.
Court records show a shotgun, two revolvers, suspected psilocybin mushrooms and LSD sheets were found inside the home.
The investigation into the shooting deaths is ongoing, police said.
Sheriff's deputy accused of shoplifting in Oro Valley resigns
A Pima County Sheriff’s deputy arrested last month on suspicion of shoplifting in an Oro Valley Walmart resigned on Monday, sheriff’s officials said.
The Oro Valley Police Department arrested Ryan Fuller, 35, on October 21 on one count of organized retail theft and four counts of fraudulent schemes. That same day, Fuller was placed on administrative leave while the sheriff’s department conducted an employee investigation.
While still on administrative leave, Fuller resigned from his position at the sheriff’s department on Monday, Deputy James Allerton, a department spokesman said.
Fuller turned himself in to the Oro Valley Police Department in October, days after the department posted a wanted notice on its Facebook page, asking the public for help identifying someone suspected of shoplifting at the Walmart near East Tangerine Road and North Oracle Road.
He was allegedly switching barcodes for products, Carmen Trevizo, spokeswoman for the Oro Valley Police Department said.
The Oro Valley Police Department investigation is ongoing.