The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office this week identified the man who was shot and killed by a deputy during a Christmas Day disturbance in Rio Rico, as well as the deputy who shot him.
Sheriff David Hathaway said in an email on Tuesday that the man who was killed was 32-year-old John Moreno. However, he declined to give additional information about Moreno, including his place of residence and his relationship to the people in the home that he reportedly assaulted.
Hathaway said the Sheriff’s Office had to wait for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to finish its investigation of the shooting. It’s customary for outside agencies to conduct investigations of police shootings, and PCSD is the lead agency in this case.
“Not only do we not want to interfere with any leads they are pursuing, but we won’t have a clear picture ourselves until they are done and release the conclusions of their witness interviews and investigation to us,” Hathaway wrote.
However, while PCSD is leading the investigation, it has refused to comment on the case, saying that it’s up to Santa Cruz County authorities to release any information on the case.
PCSD had also declined to release the name of the person killed in the shooting, and Santa Cruz County officials had withheld the ID as well, saying they were waiting for Pima officials to notify the man’s family. On Tuesday, 11 days after the shooting, Hathaway said that next-of-kin notification had been made and he was able to release Moreno’s name.
At 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 25, sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 call reporting that someone was trying to break into a residence in southeast Rio Rico. The caller said the man “was breaking through the window and has a gun,” and that he was “shooting at the subjects,” according to the dispatcher’s notes.
However, then-Sheriff Antonio Estrada told the NI on Dec. 26 that authorities never confirmed the presence of a gun. But the suspect did apparently use a semi-truck to bash into a carport attached to the home, severely damaging two vehicles and the structure itself.
Estrada said that when the deputy arrived at the scene, the suspect rammed his patrol vehicle with the truck, and when it appeared he was getting ready to ram it again, the deputy got out and opened fire, killing the suspect.
Hathaway identified the officer as Sgt. Omar Rodriguez. He said Rodriguez was hired as a deputy in September of 2006 and was promoted to sergeant in September 2014. He was put on administrative leave following the shooting.