05/28/2003

Tucson Officer Killed During Footchase

Officer Down: Patrick K. Hardesty - [Tuscon, Arizona]

Suspect Had Been on Most Wanted List

PoliceOne

John Montenegro Cruz allegedly shot and killed Officer Patrick K. Hardesty (picture below) yesterday, 40, outside a home in Tuscon. The suspect was once on the city's Most Wanted list and has a criminal record. The officer was questioning Cruz, 33, about his involvement in a nearby hit-and-run accident when the shooting occurred, said Sgt. Marco Borboa, a Tucson police spokesman.

Hardesty and another officer who responded to a 3:18 p.m. hit-and-run call received information that Cruz, who allegedly was driving the vehicle that caused the accident, was at a residence in the neighborhood. The officers found Cruz at the home. Cruz asked to retrieve some property from his vehicle, but took off running.

Hardesty chased after Cruz, while the other officer went to the patrol car. That officer then found Hardesty shot. Officers arriving to assist in the investigation of the accident called for help at 4:08 p.m., Borboa said. Hardesty was taken by ambulance to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Borboa said.

Cruz, 33, was apprehended by other officers after a brief foot chase. He is being held in the Pima County Jail on a charge of first-degree murder. Hardesty, who became a full-time officer in August 2001 after serving as a reserve officer for 11 years, was the first Tucson police officer killed on duty in 21 years.

Hardesty leaves a wife and three children, ages 13, 8 and 7. "There's a lot of emotion going on in the agency," Police Chief Richard Miranda Miranda said at a news conference last night. "We are a family, and during times like this we are going to stick together as a family."

Hardesty, who also served 20 years in the Marine Corps, worked out of the Midtown Division. Miranda said officers Hardesty worked with were with his family last night. "We're going to remain close to the family," Miranda said. "We're going to stay with them forever."

Cruz was arrested last year by the Pinal County Sheriff's Department near Redington in connection with the kidnapping of a Tucson woman he once dated and the shooting of a man who also had dated the woman. In that case, Cruz was charged with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping, weapons misconduct and other charges. The outcome of those charges could not be determined this morning. Cruz also was listed on the Pima County Attorney's "Most Wanted" list last year. He was being sought on a felony warrant charging him with fleeing from law enforcement.

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