Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Deputy Louis Puroll was fired Wenesday over comments he made to a newspaper reporter regarding a shooting he said was at the hands of smugglers in the Vekol Valley, Sheriff Paul Babeu announced.

The office launched an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident on Dec. 1, which led to the termination. Babeu cited 10 violations by Puroll, including competency, truthfulness, an abusive attitude and conduct that brings discredit to the county.

In a November New Times article, Puroll told of being approached by smugglers offering to pay him to look the other way, and of hearing a threat on the reporter's life, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

"I stood by my deputy after he was shot by drug smugglers in April because his statements to both criminal and internal investigators were consistent, supported by physical evidence, radio transmissions, GPS coordinates, other victims/witnesses and later through gunshot residue testing conducted on the shirt he was wearing," according to Babeu's statement. "The manner in which Deputy Puroll conducted himself following the shooting investigation when interviewed by Reporter Paul Rubin brought great discredit to himself and the men and women representing our sworn law enforcement profession."

Puroll is formally appealing the decision.

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