Deputies investigating two separate shootings
Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell
FLORENCE, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is investigating two separate incidents where a "Rip Crew" ambushed and shot people in the desert.
Tim Gaffney, a spokesman with PCSO, tells KGUN9 that on Tuesday, they received a call from a man who had been shot.
Deputies arrived and the 42-year-old man told them that he and two other people were from Mexico and had crossed the border illegally. They were walking on a trail when three people ambushed them demanding money.
The suspects were armed and spoke Spanish. The victims gave them money but then told the suspects they didn't have any more to give.
One of the armed suspects began to pistol whip the 42-year-old man in the face and when he tried to fight back, he was shot in the right leg.
The suspects then fled on foot to a vehicle they had waiting. The man who was shot stayed on the road while his two friends ran back into the desert to avoid being arrested.
A resident saw the victim while driving and called 911. The man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for his gunshot wound, and several fractures in his face.
The area where the shooting took place was checked by PCSO and Border Patrol agents but none of the suspects were found.
The next day, Wednesday, the sheriff's office received a 911 call from a man saying he had been shot.
Deputies found the victim and another Hispanic man south of Interstate 8 near Smith Road.
Deputies learned that the victim and his friend were part of an eight person backpacking crew carrying marijuana from Mexico across the U.S. and were nearing I-8.
They were confronted by a Rip Crew who ordered them in Spanish to drop their backpacks. Four of the suspects had rifles and one had a handgun.
As the backpacking group fled, one of the suspects opened fire on the group and the victim was shot in the backside.
The crime scene was found but PCSO, SWAT and the U.S. Border Patrol could not find the suspects.