PD: Gang may have targeted Salt River officer in deadly shooting - Tucson News Now

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PD: Gang may have targeted Salt River officer in deadly shooting

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Officer Jair Cabrera Officer Jair Cabrera
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Authorities are investigating whether a Phoenix-area gang is targeting law enforcement officers after a Salt River police officer may have been baited into making a traffic stop where several gang members shot and killed him.

Officer Jair Cabrera was shot at the Chevron gas station on Pima and Chaparral roads about 3 a.m. Saturday as the officer tried to pull over the driver of a red Pontiac.

Just before the shooting, the suspect vehicle flashed its bright lights and turned its headlamps on and off several times while facing Cabrera's vehicle at a stop sign, according to the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information (EVGCI) Fusion Center.

Investigators said as Cabrera was trying to pull over the red Pontiac, the passenger opened the door before the car came to a stop and aimed at the officer.

Several suspects were arrested, including Elijah Arthur. He is believed to be the shooter who killed Cabrera, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators said as the Pontiac came to a stop, Arthur was already out of the car, holding a rifle in his hands. He pivoted around to the right and stopped to face Cabrera's police vehicle, while positioning the rifle over the roof of the Pontiac. He fired a single shot, hitting Cabrera.

Cabrera was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale where he died within the hour.

The FBI agent who interviewed Arthur after he was arrested said Arthur appeared drunk, smelling of alcohol and with bloodshot eyes.

All the suspects who were arrested in the shooting are members or associated with the Eastside Los Guada Blood Gang.

EVGCI Fusion Center said the Eastside Los Guada Blood Gang has a lengthy history of violence and on several incidents have been directed at law enforcement.

In 2011, 11 members of the Eastside Bloods were indicted on charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and racketeering. Nine accepted plea agreements and the remaining two suspects were convicted at trial.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales told CBS 5 News this is a wakeup call for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that there is a need for continued and increased communication regarding gang activities.

"You would think that in 2014 we would be there, but we're not," said Gonzales, who started the state's gang task force when he worked for the Department of Public Safety.

There are 149 documented gang members and 30 affiliate gangs, including AZ DOC Security Threat Group known as Warrior Society, that live in cities throughout the Phoenix metro, with the largest concentration of members on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and Mesa, EVGCI Fusion Center said.

EVGCI said leaders of the Warrior Society are encouraging members of the gang to possibly target law enforcement officers, specifically officers from tribal agencies.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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