Person of interest in officer shooting arrested, charged with burglary
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Police arrested a man involved in the two Sunday morning burglary attempts that ended with an officer being shot in the head. Tuesday night he made his first court appearance.
Richard "Ricky" Mendoza, 29, was arrested on two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary and six counts of prohibited possessor Tuesday, according to Sgt. Marie Hawke with the Tucson Police Department.
Tuesday evening, a judge scheduled a bond hearing for Mendoza on November 23rd. He is due back in court one week later for his preliminary hearing. In the meantime, he will remain at the Pima County Jail.
Hawke tells KGUN9 that Mendoza was identified as a person of interest during the investigation surrounding the burglary incidents at the home located in the 4000 block of East Elmwood and the shooting of Sergeant Robert Carpenter that took place Sunday, Nov. 18.
On Monday evening, Tucson police served a search warrant at the Randolph Park Hotel located at 102 North Alvernon Way after investigators learned that Mendoza was staying at the hotel.
Search warrants were also issued for Mendoza's room and vehicles associated with him. As the investigation continued, officers were able to confirm Mendoza’s involvement in both of the burglary incidents, Hawke says.
According to Hawke, Mendoza was also determined to be the man that was seen wearing a dark blue jersey and fleeing on foot from the residence after the first burglary incident. So far Tucson Police say they have no direct link tying Mendoza to the shooting of officer Carpenter, but they have not ruled out his involvement.
According to Deputy Tom Peine with the Pima County Sheriff's Department, a prohibited possessor charge is given when someone who is not legally allowed to have weapons is found in possession. Mendoza was found in possession of six weapons he wasn't supposed to be carrying.
The first-degree burglary charge refers to a burglary committed with a deadly weapon and a second-degree burglary charge refers to an unarmed burglary, according to Peine.
Hawke says the investigation regarding the shooting of Sergeant Carpenter will continue. Detectives are working around the clock on this case.
9OYS did some digging on Mendoza's past. He spent four years at a maximum security prison in Florence also due to burglary convictions in Cochise County. He was released in 2009.
Together with 88-crime, Tucson Police is offering up to a $26,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or prosecution of the individual or individuals responsible for shooting officer Carpenter.