Posted 6:38 PM 11/20/2012 : Person of interest in officer shooting arrested on burglary charges
TUCSON - Tucson Police arrest a convicted felon in connection to a Midtown home burglary Sunday morning. It was while responding to that call Tucson Police Sergeant Robert Carpenter was shot in the head. The 12 year police veteran remains in the hospital in critical but stable condition.
Acting on a tip, police served a search warrant Monday night at the Randolph Park Hotel on north Alvernon Way. 29-year-old Rocky Mendoza was staying at the hotel, which is a block away from the Midtown residence burglarized twice on Sunday.
Police say the Mendoza was the man wearing the dark blue jersey and was seen running from the residence after the first burglary. He's been charged with two counts of first degree burglary, one count of second degree burglary, and six counts of prohibited possessor.
Sources tell News 4, forensic evidence left at the scene connects Mendoza to the burglaries.
Sean Davis is the homeowner whose house was burglarized.
He tells News 4, "Hopefully they (police) will be able to link him to the shooting of the officer as well. It's nice to know they apprehended the suspect I can rest a little easier now."
Tucson Police SWAT, U-S Marshals, and ATF agents also played a role in helping investigators arrest Ricky Mendoza. A search warrant was served, and investigators went through a moving truck. It's not clear if Mendoza was leaving town, or just moving to another location.
Mendoza is a convicted felon who has served time on burglary charges in the past. According to the Department of Corrections website, he served time in 2005, and was released in 2009. A check with the Fugitive Investigative Strike Team of the Pima County Sheriff's Department says they arrested him on a felony warrant last month.
The detective who captured him told News 4, he was found hiding in a backroom with his hands in the air.
Tuesday afternoon, the Tucson Police Department released the following statement: "The Tucson Police Department is extremely appreciative of the outpouring of support from the community as well as other law enforcement entities in the minutes, hours, and days since the critical shooting of Sergeant Robert Carpenter. Many have expressed a desire to help out and have been seeking ways to do so. The support alone from the community and law enforcement partners has been incredible. Additionally, there has been a great outpouring of monetary support both in the form of donations to assist Sergeant Carpenter and his family through the course of his recovery as well as in the form of donations to specifically bolster the monetary reward offered for information that could prove vital in assisting with the prosecution of the terrible crime. Working in conjunction with 88-Crime, a reward of up to $26,000.00 is offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting incident." The reward money raised thus far is a result of contributions made by 88-Crime, the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshal's Service, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and various private citizens who wish to remain anonymous. Our most sincere thanks go out to all those who have provided the Tucson Police Department and the Carpenter family with such an unbelievable show of support.
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