Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Oct. 9-11
PHOENIX — A rise in Arizona coronavirus cases is not unexpected, the FBI still searching for suspects in a 25-year-old train derailment case and flooding causing Tonto National Forest officials to close recreational areas along Roosevelt Lake’s shoreline.
Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.
Coronavirus case and hospitalization numbers have been creeping higher in Arizona, but Gov. Doug Ducey said it’s not unexpected or reason for policy changes.
“As good as the news has been for the last 13 weeks, the expectation should be that case are going to rise,” Ducey told reporters Thursday.
While trending upward, the hospital and case numbers are still just a fraction of what the state was seeing at the peak of the pandemic in June and July. And the death count has slowed, with the rolling seven-day average of newly reported fatalities falling below 10 on Thursday for the first time since May 1.
Arizona health authorities reported 597 new coronavirus cases and no additional deaths on Sunday morning.
That put the state’s documented totals at 225,575 COVID-19 infections and 5,759 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital inpatients dipped to 630 on Saturday, 55 fewer than the previous day.
In October 1995, an Amtrak passenger train derailed around 1:30 a.m. in a remote desert area 70 miles outside of Phoenix.
Twenty-five years later, the FBI is still looking to make an arrest, offering up to $310,000 in reward money in exchange for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the crash.
“A hallmark of the FBI is that we don’t forget,” Sean Kaul, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office, said in a press release. “There were children onboard the train as young as nine-months-old, an innocent man lost his life, and many others were injured.”
The Amtrak Sunset Limited was traveling from El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles, California, with 258 passengers onboard when it veered off an altered track and crashed into a ravine.
Two shootings overnight in Phoenix left three men dead, one injured and one arrested as police continue to investigate both unrelated incidents.
The first, an argument between neighbors led to a shootout leaving one dead and one injured early on Sunday morning.
Police said at 1:49 a.m., officers found two gunshot victims near Pierce Street and 39th Avenue. Both were taken to the hospital where one of the two men was pronounced dead.
One suspect was taken into custody and is being interviewed by detectives. The other man shot was reportedly suffering non-life threatening injuries.
An increased risk of flooding has prompted Tonto National Forest officials to close recreational areas along Roosevelt Lake’s shoreline starting Friday.
Forest officials say the closures are to ensure public health and safety. The closure extends through March 15, unless the order is lifted before that date.
The area around Roosevelt Lake was burned earlier this year by the Bush Fire, which consumed more than 180,000 acres in the Tonto National Forest.
Now, as the burned area recovers, it is more susceptible to debris flows and flooding during a modest rainfall, officials say.