PHOENIX - On Sept. 17, following two shootings in recent days that targeted members of law enforcement in the Phoenix area, the Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Heston Silbert, did not hold back his feelings on the current attitude some hold toward law enforcement.
On Sept. 15, a security officer contractor deputized by the United States Marshals Service was shot outside the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse in Downtown Phoenix. The suspect, identified as James Lee Carr, is now accused of assault on a federal officer using a dangerous or deadly weapon, and well as discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, both federal offenses.
Carr's ex-wife, as well as Carr's attorney, say Carr has a known history of mental problems.
On Sept. 17, DPS officials say two people were involved in an unprovoked shooting against a trooper in Phoenix. One of the suspects, identified as Luis German Espinoza Acuña, was taken into custody.
U.S. Marshal makes plea for end to violence
“In my career, both as a DPS officer and U.S. Marshal, I’ve never seen anything like this," said U.S. Marshal David Gonzalez. "There have been trends, but nothing that has reached this level and the rhetoric that has been going on nationally."
Marshal Gonzales says their working theory is Carr, the suspect involved in the courthoue shooting, was looking to hurt someone in law enforcement
“We believe, unsubstantiated, that this individual that shot court security officer ford was looking to shoot a police officer that day," said Marshal Gonzales. "Possibly Phoenix Police, as he circled the building."
Marshal Gonzales also made a plea to the public to stop attacking members of law enforcement.
"We all understand that people are angry. We get it," said Marshal Gonzales. "But the other part of this: we’re in the middle of these things going on in society."
The plea for peace also came along with a warning.
"I also want our troopers to protect themselves, and at the end of the day, they’re going home. People need to understand if you attack a law enforcement officer, if you point a gun at an officer, you are going to be met with lethal force," said Colonel Heston Silbert, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.