AP: Arizona deputy’s shooting by drug-runners may have been hoax

By Associated Press
Saturday, September 25, 2010 22:20 EDT
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Two nationally known forensic pathologists are questioning a sheriff deputy’s version of how he was shot in the remote desert south of Phoenix, adding to theories that the incident was a hoax timed to enflame the debate over illegal immigration.

Pinal County Deputy Louie Puroll told investigators he was following a group of smugglers carrying bales of marijuana on April 30 when he was ambushed by men firing AK-47 rifles. In what Puroll described as a running gunbattle, he said he was grazed by a bullet in the back.

The pathologists, Dr. Michael Baden of New York and Dr. Werner Spitz of suburban Detroit, examined photos of the wound released by the sheriff’s office. They told The Associated Press on Friday they concluded the bullet was fired from inches away, not at least 25 yards as Puroll said.

It’s “a close wound, not a distant wound, based on the appearance of the skin around the wound, which is normally what we forensic pathologists look at,” said Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner currently working for the New York State Police. “We’re talking inches, not yards.”


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