12/27/2006

Univ. of Ariz. officer kills gunman outside medical center

By Becky Pallack
The Arizona Daily Star 

Tuscon, Az. --A University of Arizona police officer shot and killed a man in front of University Medical Center Monday morning.

Officer Jeff Wadleigh, 28, shot Raul Marquez Jr., 43, "many times" because Marquez had aimed a shotgun at him around 4:50 a.m., police said.

Wadleigh tried to pull over Marquez, who was driving a Ford F-150 near North Campbell Avenue and East Speedway, because the truck had a license plate that was reported stolen, said Sgt. Decio Hopffer of the Tucson Police Department.

Marquez continued to drive a few blocks north on Campbell and turned into the main entrance to the hospital. He stopped near the main doors and got out of the truck with the shotgun, Hopffer said.

Wadleigh yelled to Marquez to drop the gun, but Marquez pointed it at the officer. Wadleigh fired, hitting Marquez "many times," Hopffer said. Emergency-room workers tried to help Marquez, but he died soon after the shooting. Wadleigh was not injured.

TPD homicide detectives were handling the investigation Monday at the request of the UA police, Hopffer said.

Three passengers in the truck, who had gotten a ride from Marquez to the hospital, were not hurt. They corroborated the officer's story, Hopffer said, and a backup officer, who arrived as the shooting happened, also supported Wadleigh's reports.

Wadleigh has been employed at the UA Police Department for about two years and is the liaison officer for the Coronado Residence Hall on campus. He previously interned for the department as a community service officer when he was a student a few years ago, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, of the UA police. After he graduated from the UA, he served in the Oro Valley Police Department and then the Cochise County Sheriff's Department before returning to the UA police.

Wadleigh is on administrative leave from his job while an investigation is conducted. In addition, a board of inquiry will review the incident to determine whether the officers followed department policies. Both actions are standard in police-involved shootings.

The incident was the first police-involved shooting this year for the campus police, Mejia said.

Marquez previously had been arrested once for weapons misconduct, several times for assault and several times for aggravated DUI, court records show. Most of the cases were dismissed in court. He pleaded guilty in a 1999 assault case. In 2001, he was convicted of weapons misconduct and sentenced to one year in prison. He also pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license in a 2005 case.

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