Deputy kills 1 suspect, wounds second in Pinal Cty. shootout

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 26 at 4:21 PM

Map: Red Rock, Arizona

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NEAR ELOY, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is investigating an early morning deputy-involved shooting in which one suspect was killed and a second was wounded.

It started with an armed robbery at the M Passion Adult Boutique in Picacho Peak, which is southeast of Eloy, shortly before 6:30 a.m. Monday.

The suspects reportedly tied up the store clerk and held her at gunpoint while they robbed the place. She was not hurt and was able to get loose and call 911 as the suspects fled with the company's safe.

Deputies responded in less than five minutes.

A PCSO deputy who was in the area saw the suspects' vehicle speeding away from the store. Lights and siren on, the deputy tried to stop the driver, but the suspect refused to comply.

"The vehicle fled and a pursuit was initiated," PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney wrote in an email to media outlets.

At times, the suspects' vehicle hit speeds of 120 mph.

Less than 10 minutes after the chase began, the suspects' vehicle exited on to northbound Highway 87.

"The suspect vehicle pulled into a dirt field and then the suspect vehicle and deputy’s vehicle collided," according to Gaffney. "Initial information is the two armed suspects exited the vehicle and shot at the deputy. The deputy returned fire and shot both suspects."

One of the suspects was pronounced dead at the scene. The second, who still tried to run despite a wound to his leg, was air-lifted to the hospital.

Those suspects have now been identified. The deceased suspect is 32-year-old Matthew Clowers. He spent 10 years in prison for Aggravated Assault and Armed Robbery.

The suspect in the hospital is 23-year-old Adam Chavez. He served eight months in prison for Endangerment and Theft.

"Our deputy involved in the pursuit and shooting is a highly disciplined patrol deputy who is a member of our special weapons and tactics team," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

The deputy, a seven-year veteran who is also a SWAT  and Search-and-Rescue Team member, was not injured.

Aerial video from Chopper 3 showed the deputy's vehicle and the suspects' vehicle off the side of the roadway.

"These armed robbers tied up the female clerk and thought they were getting away with the cash from the register and the safe, yet our deputies were quick to catch these bad guys," Babeu said in a news release. "In the end, our deputies go home safe and one suspect goes to the morgue and the other to the hospital before life in prison."

Both the robbery and the shooting are under investigation.

Eloy is about an hour south and slightly east of Phoenix.

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