A burglary suspect nearly took out a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy with his car overnight and his crimes led to two other arrests, PCSO said.
Charles Butler of Coolidge was pulled over near Hunt Highway and American Way, PCSO said, just after midnight. As the deputy approached the car, 21-year-old Butler got out of his vehicle for a few seconds, then jumped back in and started to drive away. He did a U-turn and started driving toward the deputy, PCSO said. The deputy got inside his patrol car right before Butler rammed his car, investigators said.
The deputy was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Butler's car was damaged and didn't work so he took off running.
Then around 4:30 a.m., the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said Butler then stole a car and a rifle from a woman at her house. The woman said she had taken out the rifle because she was concerned about the police activity in the area, but fell asleep and that's when the suspect took it.
A few hours later, he then broke into another home in the area of Ocotillo and Gantzel, PCSO said. When deputies were called and arrived, he was seen walking out of the home, deputies said. He then tried to blend in with kids at a bus stop but was spotted and then arrested.
Tom, a 6th grader, was one of the kids there at the bus stop. His mom didn't want him fully identified, nor his face on camera.
“I look up and I see this guy – I Thought he was a teenager," Tom said. "Then since I looked up I saw that there were cops on each end of the street, so I paused my music and then I was like, ‘what’s going on?’”
He explained how officers then told the kids to go back inside their homes. Butler was arrested right there in Tom's family's driveway. His mom, who also didn't want to be identified, wasn't home at the time, but was getting texts from her son.
"I'm freaking out that my kids are in danger, and I try to tell them to get in the house and out of danger," she said. "Then I’m calling my husband, asking him where he’s at because he’s supposed to be home. And he pulls up and says there cops everywhere, he can’t get in the driveway.”
Eventually the kids were escorted to a different spot to get picked up by the bus.
PCSO said deputies found out Butler sold the stolen rifle to 26-year-old Tadeo Bravo-Cortez in exchange for drugs that morning. When deputies showed up at a motel near Vah Ki Inn Road and the State Route 287 that Bravo-Cortez was at, he drove off, PCSO said. There was a short pursuit that ended with him crashing the vehicle near Hashan Kehk and Mish Ki Roads on the reservation.
Bravo-Cortez and his passenger, 20-year-old Erika Norris of Coolidge, were taken into custody. The stolen rifle was found inside his car, PCSO said.
Deputies said money and other items were thrown out of the car during the pursuit. The money was located.
Bravo-Cortez is charged with felony flight, possession of stolen firearms, misconduct involving weapons, dangerous drugs, tampering with evidence and drug paraphernalia.
Norris is being charged with possession of stolen firearms, misconduct involving weapons, dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Butler is charged with assault against a police officer, aggravated assault with injury, resisting arrest, endangerment and burglary.
Bravo-Cortez is a Mexican national.
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