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Arizona Sheriff Reopens Investigation of Deputy's Shooting

September 28, 2010  | 

Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff's deputy Louie Puroll was wearing this shirt when he was shot while on patrol near Casa Grande. Photo courtesy of Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

The Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office has reopened its internal investigation into the April 30 shooting of Deputy Louie Puroll, after two nationally recognized forensic experts questioned the deputy's account.

"In an effort to maintain the transparency of our criminal investigation, we are reopening this case," according to Tim Gaffney, the agency's public information officer.

The deputy had said he was shot by drug smugglers while patroling the Vekol Valley.

The account is being disputed by Dr. Michael Baden, co-director of the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigation Unit and New York City's former chief medical examiner, and Dr. Werner Spitz, co-author of the textbook "Medicolegal Investigation of Death" and the retired chief medical examiner of Detroit's Wayne County.

Baden and Spitz initially told several Arizona news outlets the shooting could not have occurred as Puroll described it. After examining photos of the wound, the experts said it appeared to be caused at close range rather than at a longer range stated by Puroll.

The agency will turn over the shirt apparently worn by Puroll when he was shot to the Arizona Department of Safety for testing. The DPS crime laboratory has been asked to check the shirt for the presence of gunshot residue, charring, burning or any other evidence of a close-contact shot, according to the agency.

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