Pinal County deputy cleared in Eloy shootingPosted: Updated:
ELOY, Ariz. – A Pinal County sheriff's deputy involved in a fatal shooting in Eloy has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
The shooting occurred on Jan. 14 after Manuel Orosco Longoria led deputies and Eloy police officers on a 40-minute pursuit while driving a stolen car. He reportedly tried to ram several law enforcement vehicles in an attempt to get away.
During the pursuit he gestured that he had a weapon and repeatedly said "he wouldn't be taken alive," according to officials with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
The pursuit ended after Longoria's vehicle became disabled when deputies performed a pit maneuver.
Authorities said Longoria refused to obey verbal commands and yelled profanities at the deputies. Officers and deputies fired several beanbag rounds and deployed their Tasers, but they didn't work on Longoria.
Authorities said Longoria reached back into the car and Deputy Heath Rankin fired twice, killing him.
"Rankin thought Longoria had a gun as he was directly in front of him, standing in a shooting stance and it appeared he was about to fire a gun at him," according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
In the weeks that followed, questions were raised about whether the shooting was justified.
PCSO officials said they were notified Wednesday that the Arizona Attorney General's Office had reviewed the case and Rankin was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
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