A would-be cop-killer roaming the streets seems like the kind of thing about which authorities might have wanted to alert the public. But they didn't -- for, at the very least, four days. Even worse, it seems authorities from at least two different Arizona cop shops have known Perez was out of custody for nearly two weeks -- since December 16 -- and didn't bother to alert the fourth estate, which could have, perhaps, aided in the recovery of such an alleged undesirable.
Yesterday, the Arizona Republic reported that Perez was released from a Pinal County jail after he was taken there from a Maricopa County detention facility for a 2009 failure to comlply warrant. Perez, however, was supposed to be held on a warrant from the Department of Public Safety for allegedly shooting at a DPS officer on December 10.
Perez was wounded in the shootout with police. He was taken to a hospital, and then taken to an MCSO jail.
While in MCSO custody, Perez was taken to Pinal County on December 16 to answer for the 2009 warrant. He posted bond and was released -- despite DPS claims that he was supposed to be held.
PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney tells New Times his office never received the paperwork saying Perez was supposed to be held -- despite DPS officials implying to the Republic that the PCSO had the paperwork and just accidentally released Perez.
Gaffney says he sent DPS spokesman Sergeant Kevin Wood the paperwork on Perez received by the PCSO. Nowhere in that paperwork is an order to hold Perez.
Wood, Gaffney claims, responded by saying, "Thanks for providing specific information I was not privy to....for some reason, unknown to me, the felony charging paperwork did not accompany Mr. Perez to Pinal County."
The actual indictment for Perez's aggravated assault charge (for shooting at the officer) wasn't handed down until December 23, at which point authorities had to know he was no longer in custody -- and that's only assuming authorities didn't already know following his December 16 release.
Even though the indictment didn't come until December 23, the DPS says the paperwork was filled out alerting authorities that he was not to be released.
Gaffney claims his office didn't even know Perez was wanted until yesterday -- when he saw the article in the Arizona Republic (he says the paper didn't bother to call him before publishing its original article, by the way).
Gaffney says he doesn't know who dropped the ball -- all he knows is the PCSO never received any paperwork from MCSO saying Perez was not to be released.
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We contacted the DPS and the MCSO last night to find out who's to blame. More importantly, we want to know why the public wasn't notified that this creep was on the streets when it's clear that at least the DPS knew he was out of custody on December 23. Neither got back to us.
It seems, however, the MCSO had the paperwork but never gave it to the PCSO.
We'll keep pestering the MCSO and the DPS. Check back to Valley Fever for updates.