Firefighter, paramedics wounded in deadly Arizona shootings

Jul 18, 2021, 9:31 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2021, 8:04 pm
Tucson Police investigators work at the scene of a house fire where a body was found in Tucson, Ari...

Tucson Police investigators work at the scene of a house fire where a body was found in Tucson, Ariz., Monday, July 19, 2021. A gunman killed one person and wounded several others, including firefighters and paramedics, at the scene of a house fire in Arizona on Sunday before being shot by an officer, authorities said. (Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

(Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities on Monday identified a suspect accused of fatally shooting one person and wounding four others, including firefighters and paramedics, during a house fire in Tucson.

Leslie Stephen Scarlett, 35, remained in extremely critical condition at a local hospital, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said at a news conference.

Magnus said the suspect was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer on Sunday.

“It is not clear what his intentions were,” Magnus said. “This is a highly tragic, really horrific incident, with many unknowns … A nightmare scenario.”

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Scarlett has a criminal history that includes a 2007 conviction for an attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to six years and was released in August 2013.

Police said Scarlett drove up to the house fire and fired shots at an ambulance crew. The ambulance was two blocks from the fire but was actually on standby for another incident, authorities said.

The ambulance driver, a 20-year-old man, was shot in the head, and a paramedic in the passenger seat, a 21-year-old woman, was shot in the chest and arm, police said. The driver was in critical condition and the woman was stable Monday.

The suspect then opened fire on firefighters and neighbors trying to douse the flames, authorities said.

A neighbor — identified as 44-year-old Cory Michael Saunders — was shot in the head and died, Magnus said. A firefighter was shot in the arm, and another bullet grazed another neighbor’s head.

Police said a badly burned body was later found inside the home hasn’t been identified yet, but likely is the mother of three children who lived there. The children were initially reported missing but were located unharmed Monday morning, according to authorities.

A responding police officer encountered the suspect a couple blocks away. Police said he rammed his SUV into the officer’s vehicle and opened fire.

The officer wasn’t injured and returned fire, critically wounding the suspect.

Tucson is about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix.

___

This story has been corrected to accurately spell Cory.

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Firefighter, paramedics wounded in deadly Arizona shootings