MCSO deputy killed in line of duty followed procedures, Penzone says

Oct 12, 2021, 9:12 AM
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Juan Ruiz (MCSO Photo)...
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Juan Ruiz (MCSO Photo)
(MCSO Photo)

PHOENIX – A metro Phoenix deputy who died after an uncuffed suspect beat him unconscious followed procedure, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Tuesday.

Deputy Juan Ruiz “made sound decisions,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.

“There’s no neon sign that says this guy is going to be the one that turns on you.”

Ruiz died Monday. He had been on life support following the Saturday attack at a substation in Avondale. He had taken Clinton Robert Hurley, 30, to a cell and removed the handcuffs.

Other deputies found Ruiz bleeding and knocked out in the cell. Hurley had escaped, taking Ruiz’s patrol unit.

Penzone said Ruiz had observed protocol.

“As he was heading back from the when he first took the suspect into custody in the district, he called another deputy to meet him there to help process with him. There were other deputies in the building at the time on other duties,” Penzone said.

Protocol calls for removal of handcuffs once a suspect is in a cell.

“There are certain expectations when we put you in a holding cell, unless we can truly justify why we’re going to keep them restrained in additional methods, we’re required to take handcuffs off them in the cell,” Penzone said.

Ruiz’s death could bring about a checkup of the measures.

“You need to deconstruct what occurred to make sure that if there are ways for us to mitigate and reduce threats to our employees that they’re implemented immediately,” Penzone said.

Hurley, who was being processed on multiple felony warrants when he escaped, was the subject of manhunt starting around 11 a.m. after Ruiz was found.

He was eventually shot by a homeowner near Tonopah on Saturday and hospitalized.

Additional charges against him are pending.

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MCSO deputy killed in line of duty followed procedures, Penzone says