Sheriff's posse member released from hospital

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- A volunteer posse member for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office who was shot while trying to help a Phoenix police officer on New Year's Eve was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Philip Grigg, 63, was critically injured Dec. 31 when he came to the aid of Officer Scott Sefranka, who was pursuing several robbery suspects. At the time, authorities did not believe Grigg would survive his wounds.

"He's obviously very strong and so was his will to survive," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement Wednesday.

Sefranka, 34, also was shot but got released from the hospital a few days later.

In a plot that led up to the shooting, a fired strip club worker aimed to rob his former employer of up to $500,000 he believed was stored in the business' safe, authorities said.

Jason Beau Keep, 36, was fired from the Pink Rhino Cabaret in Phoenix just before Christmas, according to court records.

That's when he hatched a plan to recruit others in the midday robbery attempt, which was scrapped after they spotted a crowd outside the business, the records say.

Instead, Roger Allen Sharp Jr., 27, and David Lee Murray, 36, followed two strip-club employees to an east Phoenix restaurant, where they robbed the men at gunpoint and stole a duffel bag stuffed with $18,000, police said.

With police in pursuit, the pair then crashed their car. Murray fled, but Sharp was confronted by Sefranka and Grigg, an Army veteran who tried to help the officer, authorities said.

Sharp wrestled the officer's gun away and shot both men before fleeing into a nearby neighborhood, investigators said. All three men were arrested within a few days of the shooting. A fourth suspect, William Herbert Mayes, 30, was arrested a few weeks later in New York City.

Mayes has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and his sentencing was set for July 21.

Sharp was charged with attempted murder, resisting arrest and aggravated assault, among other counts. Murray faces charges of armed robbery and assault.

Keep, who once played basketball for the University of San Diego and Oklahoma State University and later played professionally for the Philippine Basketball Association, was charged with armed robbery.

They all have pleaded not guilty. Trial was planned for later this year. 

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.