Man arrested in assault of Forest Service officer

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

DOUGLAS, Ariz. -- A man was arrested Saturday after allegedly assaulting a U.S. Forest Service officer in Cochise County.

According to Cochise County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas, the officer encountered two suspected illegal immigrants northeast of Douglas around 3:30 p.m. and tried to take them into custody.

Capas said 30-year-old Jesus Eder Juanni-Moreno of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, struggled with the officer, and the other male fled the scene. Juanni-Moreno allegedly grabbed the officer's gun out of the holster and fired it several times. The officer was not struck.

Juanni-Moreno then reportedly tried to flee in the officer's vehicle but could not start it due to the security features.

He was taken into custody and is being held in Cochise County Jail on an FBI hold for alleged assault on a federal officer. Capas said the FBI will take custody for federal prosecution, and the sheriff's office will conduct a shadow investigation with the FBI.

The U.S. Border Patrol launched air support and canine units and Cochise Air was deployed to search for the second suspect. A canine unit from the Arizona Department of Corrections ultimately located the suspect, Capas said. He was released to Border Patrol for processing.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannells said in a statement, "We are fortunate as a public safety community that the officer in this case was not critically or fatally injured and that the suspect was taken into custody before any of our citizens could be harmed.

"It is incidents exactly like this that are proof of a need for continued situational awareness within our ranks and a need for border security to be fully addressed. Our appreciation goes to all of those agencies involved and to the joint effort that we put forth towards the success of our mission."