Mesa Cops Seek Panhandler Who Attacked Officer

Mesa police are looking for the public's help in apprehending a panhandler who attacked an officer.

Cops say the man and woman in the picture at right are known to hang out in the vicinity of Alma School Road and Main Street. The woman isn't suspected of any crime, but police hope someone who knows her can lead them to the alleged attacker.

Police received a report of a panhandler near the Burger King at Alma School and Main at about 9:30 p.m. last night and sent an officer to check. Panhandling is apparently a priority for police in Mesa.

When an officer found the suspected beggar on Main Street and tried to detain him, the man "started to fight."

The officer fell, striking the back of his head on the ground. He was later treated and released. The suspect ran away.

Police ask anyone who knows the suspect and the woman to call Central CIU Detective Engle at 480-644-2384.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.