Calling it an “ambush,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said one of his deputies survived being shot at thanks to a bulletproof glass door. The shooting, the second in less than a month, happened just outside a sheriff’s substation in Surprise, Arizona, on Friday afternoon.
According to Arpaio, a man outside a parked silver Lexus fired multiple shots at the deputy. By positioning himself behind a bullet-resistant door, the officer miraculously escaped injury.
The man firing the weapon was quickly arrested after a second deputy was able to get the suspect to disarm and surrender. Two guns were recovered, one used in the shooting and another semiautomatic weapon. A bomb squad was also called in to check the car for any “devices” or “chemicals.”
Why the shooter opened fire remains unclear. The sheriff’s department has identified the suspect as 38-year-old Jonathan Perez, who is being held on a $250,000 bond.
According to Arpaio, the unnamed officer was walking up to the door as the shots rang out. He probably would probably have died if it weren’t for the protection of the door, now riddled with bullets.
Officers searched Perez’s home and found anti-police themed music. The shooter also has a long history of arrests in Washington state for aggravated assault, the sheriff’s office said.
Earlier this month, Maricopa County sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Wisda was shot by a gunman in a passing car. Wisda received non-life threatening injuries and was hospitalized for two days.
The Arizona deputy shooting occurred while Wisda was making a routine DUI enforcement stop in Tempe when someone in a silver Cadillac drove by and began firing, hitting him and his patrol car. The suspect then quickly sped off.
The department is investigating both incidents, but Arpaio believes cops are being specifically targeted.
“There’s a war on cops,” the sheriff said. “This is twice against our deputies. Twice. So I take that very serious, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop this. They want a war? They’re going to have a war.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced he wanted to recruit 250,000 gun-carrying Arizona residents to help in the fight against terrorism and mass shootings. In December, he put the word out to all citizens with concealed-carry permits to patrol local shopping malls and be prepared to defend themselves and others should a threat arise.
The controversial sheriff said there are no guarantees when it comes to the safety of the public. As a result, he flat-out encourages citizens to take matters into their own hands if necessary.
The shooting on Friday comes just days after an Arizona officer was killed on the job. David Glasser, 35, was fatally shot while responding to a residential burglary call in Phoenix on Wednesday.
Friday’s attack is also a reminder of a similar ambush that occurred in 2014 outside a Pennsylvania state police substation. The shooting killed one trooper, left another critically wounded, and ignited a nearly two-month manhunt in the backwoods of the Poconos.
On the morning prior to the ambush shooting, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office held a memorial ceremony to pay tribute to fallen officers. Titled “They Served Well,” the observance honored the 18 deputies killed in the line of duty since 1922.
The ceremony, held annually for the past 15 years, coincides with “National Police Week.”
“It’s sad. Sad for the families, but this is something that we do. I just hope the people of this county, city, across the nation understand what our law enforcement officers have to go through. These are very difficult times,” said Arpaio.
Calling himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio has been re-elected five times since taking office 23 years ago. He is most famous for creating a jail dubbed “Tent City,” where some convicts live outside in the scorching Arizona heat.
[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]