MCSO detention officer gunned down in driveway - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

MCSO detention officer gunned down in driveway

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Jorge Vargas Jorge Vargas
Sketch of homicide suspect Sketch of homicide suspect
TOLLESON, Ariz. -

A Maricopa County Sheriff's office employee died after being shot in his driveway Thursday morning, and a motive for the shooting is unclear.

Police say they don't know how or why the shooting happened, but the employee was dressed in his uniform and the hood of his vehicle was found propped open.

27-year-old Jorge Vargas was a detention officer. He worked with MCSO for 7 years. He supervised inmates who worked in the jail's kitchen.

Neighbors heard shots around 4:30 a.m., called 911 and then found the man shot in his driveway near 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.

According to officers, Vargas died shortly after being taken to a hospital.

Crump said investigators were looking into whether the shooting was connected to the victim's job.

"It's really a whodunit," Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said. "Because of his job duties it is something we will look at, but there are not indications at this point that it is related to that.  And I want to stress that. We don't know the motive here."

Police believe the suspect is an Hispanic man wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts, who was seen heading south on foot from the home after the shooting. K9 teams searched the area, but were unable to find a suspect.

Victoria Gooden, Vargas' neighbor, heard the gunshots and ran over to help.

"He had on a long blue shirt that said 'sheriff' on the back so I know this had to be bad," said Gooden. "I was trying to help him stay alert but there wasn't too much I could really do."

"I saw a gentleman running. I didn't see a face, I saw the back of him... when he was running he was holding one side of his pants up but I didn't get a good luck at his face cause it was dark."

Vargas leaves behind a wife and 5-year-old son. They were inside the home when the shooting occurred.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio had a message for the killer.

"Watch out," he said. "We're ready for battle and we're going to take whatever action we need."

Anyone with information is asked to call Phoenix Police. They're handling the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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