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Mar 1, 2013 6:56 PM by Brian White

Stopped driver flees, shoots self in Cochise

SAN SIMON - A man killed himself Thursday after fleeing from a deputy when the man was asked to step out of his car, Cochise County spokeswoman Carol Capas said in a release.

It happened at about 2:15 p.m. Thursday near mile post 382 off of Interstate 10, Capas said. The deputy was on routine patrol when he spotted a 2005 Ford Explorer with Canadian plates parked near the frontage road.

The deputy originally thought the car was vacant, but a man popped up as he approached, Capas said. The deputy observed the man to be slightly disorientated and nervous. The deputy asked for the man's license and for him to step out of the vehicle when the man fled about 50 yards and stopped.

The man then took off again and struck a tree, Capas said. The friction from the spinning wheels caught the grass under the SUV on fire. The deputy approached and saw the man with a gun to his throat when he shot himself.

The deputy was able to cut the engine and use a fire extinguisher to put out the grass fire. The man was tenatively identified as a 54-year-old from either California or Canada. The frontage road named Power Road was closed to through traffic for approximately nine hours until the scene could be processed.

Assisting agencies in this case were the Arizona Department of Public Safety, DPS Explosive Ordinance Division from Tucson, San Simon Port of Entry, San Simon Fire Department, and Health Care Innovations.

In a subsequent vehicle search, Deputies located additional firearms, a multitude of
ammunition that was loose, in boxes, and in bandolier holders. There were numerous other items located including currency, a ski mask, binoculars, gloves, a wig and makeup.

Based upon evidence processed in the vehicle and correspondence with other law enforcement agencies in Tucson it is believed that this subject may be connected to other criminal activity in the Tucson area.

The investigation is being continued by the Cochise County Sheriff's Office in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

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