PHOENIX (AP) - OFFICER DIES-CRASH
Phoenix police officer dies in fatal hit & run
PHOENIX (AP) - A police officer who was conducting a DUI stop on a vehicle in Phoenix died after another vehicle struck him and then fled the scene.
Authorities said late Sunday afternoon that police in Surprise located the SUV that struck 29-year-old Officer Daryl Raetz around 3:30 a.m. Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said investigators are working to identify the driver.
The hit & run collision happened as Raetz was standing in the roadway and was wrapping up the DUI stop.
Raetz later died at a hospital.
Raetz was an Iraq war veteran and worked as a Phoenix police officer for six years. He is survived by a wife and young daughter.
Phoenix officials also are mourning a 23-year-old firefighter who was critically injured Saturday while fighting a mulch fire and died Sunday morning.
Firefighter dies from injuries suffered in fire
PHOENIX (AP) - A firefighter has died from injuries he suffered while fighting a mulch fire in southwest Phoenix.
Authorities say 23-year-old Phoenix Firefighter Bradley Harper was critically injured late Saturday afternoon when he became pinned between two fire vehicles.
Harper died Sunday morning.
Harper had been a Phoenix firefighter for two years.
Tucson police fatally shoot man who pulled out gun
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A 22-year-old was fatally shot by Tucson police after he removed a handgun from his waistband.
Tucson police say Freddy Batt Sosa was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday night.
Authorities say officers responding to a call that Sosa and his sister were fighting saw that Sosa at one point had his sister on the ground and pointed a gun at her.
Police say Sosa refused to follow their orders.
They say two officers fired at Sosa after he walked toward them and removed the gun from his waistband.
Sosa's sister wasn't injured.
The shooting is under investigation.
CASA GRANDE-TRAIN DEATH
Police identify man killed by train in Casa Grande
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) - Casa Grande police have identified a man who was struck and killed by an empty cargo train, but they have yet to say why he was on the tracks early Friday.
The Casa Grande Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/16xaU67 ) that the man was identified as 34-year-old Thomas Williamson.
Union Pacific Railroad called police around 7:40 a.m. Friday to report a collision involving 1 of its trains in the area of the Gila Bend overpass.
Police spokesman Thomas Anderson says Williamson was standing on the tracks but did not move despite the train operator honking the horn and pulling the brakes. The train was traveling at least 50 mph when it hit Williamson. He died on impact.
Other trains were backed up through Friday afternoon as police investigated.
Inmate found dead at Mohave County jail
KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate at a Mohave County jail.
Mohave County sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter says the inmate died early Saturday after being discovered being unresponsive in the jail's medical unit.
The inmate was later pronounced dead.
The inmate's identity hasn't yet been released.
An autopsy will be conducted.
Police face difficult deadline in destroying guns
PHOENIX (AP) - Phoenix police are in a race against time in processing guns that the city purchased at recent gun buyback events.
A new Arizona law that hasn't yet taken effect bars cities and counties from destroying guns turned over to police at buyback events and instead requires that the guns be resold.
The Arizona Republic that Phoenix's program brought in 979 weapons in two sessions earlier this month and an additional 937 guns on Saturday.
The law will go into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, which could be any day.
Police are already struggling to process the weapons in their possession.
That leaves the program's supporters facing the prospect of forcing police to sell the weapons they are now buying from the public.
NAVAJO POLICE CHIEF
Tribe's police agency without permanent leader
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - The Navajo Nation Police Department has gone five years having without a permanent leader.
The police chief's position has been vacant since April 2008 when Police Chief Jim Benally was put on paid leave.
Officials haven't given an explanation as to why Benally was placed on leave.
The Farmington Daily Times reports that the police department has had district commanders take turns filling in as police chief.
The tribe has no intention of filling the police chief position soon.
Part of the reason that the police chief's position hasn't been filled is because of its $63,500 annual salary.
Erny Zah, spokesman for the Navajo Nation president and vice president, says the salary is about half of what it should be.
Brewer wrestled with decision on Medicaid proposal
The weekend before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer made her State of the State address in January, she practiced two versions of her speech prepared: One with a Medicaid expansion in it and one without it.
The Republican governor ended up announcing during her Jan. 14 address that she wanted to expand the state's Medicaid program.
In doing so, she bucked many conservatives in her party to embrace Medicaid expansion, a signature piece of Democratic President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul.
Brewer had been an early critic of the president's health-care plan and joined 25 other states to try to repeal it.
Despite the division within the GOP, the Arizona Senate on Thursday approved the governor's proposal.
The Medicaid expansion plan faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives.
MESA VERDE VISITOR CENTER
Mesa Verde Visitor Center set to open Thursday
DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Five months after a "soft" opening, the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center in southwestern Colorado is set to hold its grand opening Thursday.
Collection curator Tara Travis tells The Durango Herald she hopes the new $16.5 million building will help people plan their trip to Mesa Verde National Park in the Four Corners region. The 23,620-square-foot building is divided into two sections: the 7,364-square-foot Visitor Center and the 16,256-square-foot Research Center.
The Visitor Center will feature interactive exhibits, an information desk, a store and a ticket office, while the Research Center will have designated spaces for a library, park archives and storage space for 3 million artifacts.
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