Last Thursday an Arizona Highway Patrol officer was ambush attacked near Phoenix. – A passing motorist stopped to assist the officer eventually shooting and killing the attacker as he was slamming the officer’s head into the pavement. Today it is revealed the attacker was an illegal alien.
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) –The Department of Public Safety on Monday identified the man who shot and wounded a trooper near Tonopah last week and confirmed that he was in the country illegally.
Leonard Penuelas-Escobar, 37, “is a known drug user but has no criminal history that we can find,” Col. Frank Milstead, the director of DPS, said during a news conference.
“We showed that he attempted to cross the border on one occasion and was turned back,” Milstead said. “We also have information that leads us to believe that in 2007 he was actually a federal police officer for the Mexican Police.” (read more)
BACKGROUND – Trooper Edward Andersson, a 27-year veteran of the Department of Public Safety, was shot in the right shoulder and chest in what authorities called an ambush and was in serious but stable condition after surgery at a Goodyear hospital.
DPS Director Frank Milstead had words of thanks for good Samaritan who stopped to help, CBS affiliate KPHO reported. “My trooper would not be alive without his assistance,” Milstead said of the driver who stopped.
Officer Andersson was putting out flares when the suspect opened fire and then physically attacked the wounded trooper, Milstead said. Both Milstead and Cecil said was ambushed.
The man was on top of the officer and “getting the better of him,” slamming Andersson’s head against the pavement, Milstead said. That’s when the passing driver showed up and asked if the trooper needed help.
Officer Andersson said yes, and the passer-by went back to his vehicle, got his gun and told the suspect to stop the attack, Milstead said. When he didn’t, the driver shot him.