2 Arrested in deadly home invasion, officer-involved shooting

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Hector Morales and Elias Garcia By Catherine Holland Hector Morales and Elias Garcia By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – Two people are in custody and police spent part of the morning searching for at least one more after an early morning home invasion turned into an officer-involved shooting and a homicide investigation.

It happened in a Maryvale neighborhood near 55th Avenue and McDowell Road. Police got the initial call about an armed burglary at a home in the area at about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Witnesses told police armed men wearing ski masks broke into the home. The suspects reportedly demanded drugs and money.

An adult male who was in the home confronted the suspects. Police have identified that man as Jose Ramirez-Leyva. He was shot. Ramirez-Leyva, 36, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Officers who arrived on the scene just minutes after the initial call spotted an SUV fleeing the neighborhood. After a short chase, the driver of that SUV stopped, but the suspects did not surrender.

"One of the suspects produced a rifle and opened fire on our officers," said Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department. "We're told anywhere between about 12 and 15 rounds may have been fired at the officers."

One of those officers returned fire. Nobody was injured in the exchange of gunfire.

Police were able to take two people into custody, but one or possibly two others got away. Officers spent several hours searching for those people, but came up empty. No description of the outstanding suspect or suspects was immediately available.

Hector Luis Morales, 26, and Elias Jaime Garcia, 35, both are face charges of  first degree murder, burglary, armed robbery and assault on a police officer.

In the course of their search for the remaining suspects, officers discovered some body armor they believe one of the suspects had been wearing.

There were children ranging in age from 9 to 12 years old inside the home when the suspects broke in. Those kids were not hurt.

Detectives are still trying to piece together the events leading up to the armed burglary, homicide, chase and officer-involved shooting.

They have not released any information about the victim or any of the suspects.