DPS shooting suspect: 'They tried to kill me'

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Ramon L. Bueno By Mike Gertzman Ramon L. Bueno By Mike Gertzman
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Police arrest 2 men wanted in shooting of DPS officer

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police say they have arrested two men wanted in the shooting of an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer.

Ramon Bueno, 39, and Danny Vargas, 26, were taken into custody at a home near 43rd and Northern avenues Wednesday evening.

"It was a relentless twenty-four-seven investigative hunt for these suspects," said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia at a news conference on Thursday morning. "It was a huge law enforcement commitment by all of the people you see behind me and a number of law enforcement officers of the Phoenix Police Department."

After extensive questioning, police transferred Bueno from police headquarters to the Fourth Avenue Jail Thursday morning.

Police said Vargas was shot in the back by DPS officers during the initial incident. He was treated for the injury and booked into jail on a felony warrant for a probation violation, which police said stems from a previous drug charge.

Bueno is suspected of shooting a DPS officer in the face during a traffic stop on Oct. 8. Police say the gang member shot Officer James Casey after the officer confronted him about providing false information about his identity. According to court documents, Bueno provided a previously documented alias.

While being escorted into the jail, Bueno was asked what happened during the traffic stop.

"They tried to kill me," Bueno said.

According to court documents, Bueno has claimed he was camping in the woods between Miami and Prescott at the time of the shooting. However, multiple witnesses and the other vehicle occupants reportedly identified him as the shooter.

The documents say Bueno is a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

After the officer was shot, Bueno allegedly pointed a gun at the driver and ordered her to flee the parking lot. Court documents say the female riding in the front passenger seat was also being held against her will.

The driver reportedly tried to flee southbound but drove back around the parking lot because she didn't see an exit. As the vehicle passed by the officers a second time, Bueno allegedly fired multiple rounds at the officers and they returned fire.

Bueno has been charged with several felonies including attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault, kidnapping, prohibited possession of a firearm, and possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Bueno's girlfriend, 24-year-old Valeria Jaime, was arrested last week and charged with hindering prosecution.

"Officer Casey and his family are feeling a little bit better today, the fact that these individuals are in custody," said Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Young, Arizona Department of Public Safety Deputy Director. "These are desperate people and they do desperate things."

Court documents note that Bueno was found to be in possession of a handgun, glass pipe, syringe and usable quantity of dangerous drugs during a traffic stop in Phoenix on Dec. 3.

He does not have a job or a stable residence, according to the documents.

Casey, 44, has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at home with his wife. Doctors say the six-year veteran of the department has a long road ahead of him.

"I met with him [Casey] on Monday," said Young. "He's in very good spirits. His family was in good spirits. He's got a long road ahead of him. He has significant injuries."

The two other DPS officers who were on scene and returned fire during the incident were Reynaldo Cruz, who has been with the agency for seven years, and Michael Alfano, a six-year DPS veteran.