Suspect sought after brutal attack on DPS officer - Tucson News Now

Suspect sought after brutal attack on DPS officer

MESA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

State authorities are asking for the public's help in the brutal beating of a Department of Public Safety officer.

It happened early New Year's Day on US-60, east of Mesa.

And the suspect is no stranger to law enforcement.

Around 2:45 AM new year's day, an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer pulled over a motorist who appeared to be driving drunk on the Superstition Highway east of Mesa.

"After making the initial contact with the driver he attempted to place the driver, Mr. Rafael Reyna under arrest," said Bart Graves, Public Relations Manager for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Based on what happened next, Mr. Reyna would have none of it.

"He basically hit the officer numerous times in the face causing significant damage to the officer's face, then fled the scene in the vehicle with one handcuff still on his wrist," Graves said.

Turns out the suspect is a career criminal who'd likely just stolen the car he was driving.

That stolen vehicle was eventually recovered, but Rafael Reyna III hasn't been seen since.

Authorities say there's a chance he could be in the Tucson area today.

"He is from Mesa, Arizona. He's from the valley," Graves said.  "However, our information leads us to believe he has left the area, he's left he could be hiding anywhere in Arizona."

Reyna is 25 years old.

He's 5-7, 200 pounds, with tattoos covering his arms and chest.

Based on what happened in this case -- and others like it -- police say he's extremely dangerous.

Should you see him, you're advised not to approach him in any way.

"He is willing to assault not only police officers, but surely anybody else that comes into contact with him," Graves said.  "When they recognize him, they should be very careful."

If you have any information about Rafael Reyna III or his whereabouts, you're asked to contact the Department of Public Safety or 88-CRIME.

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