A Tucson TV station reported on Thursday that the man accused of killing Nogales Police Officer Jesus Cordova last year was in contact with a Tempe police officer around the time of the alleged homicide.
But Tempe police said Friday that the person identified in the report was never an officer with the department.
Citing law enforcement documents, KVOA News Tucson reported that David Ernesto Murillo, who faces more than 30 charges including first-degree murder for the April 2018 crime spree that left 44-year-old Cordova dead, had previously made statements to a woman named Tyler Rose Carter about shooting a police officer.
And, KVOA reported in the July 11 story, “Police documents reveal that Murillo was texting Tempe Police Officer Tyler Rose Carter moments before the first carjacking.”
KVOA reporter Priscilla Casper told the NI on Friday that the station’s story was based on copies of an interview of Carter by Arizona Department of Public Safety agents. She said that the interview transcript obtained by KVOA identified Carter as a Tempe police officer and apparently included her badge number, though that information had been redacted.
However, according to Tempe Police spokesman Greg Bacon, the department has never employed anyone by that name, and Casper said she had not followed up with the Tempe Police Department to confirm whether Carter had been employed there.
The story was removed from KVOA’s website on Friday afternoon, after the NI contacted the station.
The DPS public records department did not immediately respond to a request for a copy of the transcript of Carter’s interview cited by KVOA.
In post-arrest interviews of Murillo by DPS detectives, transcripts of which were obtained by the NI in response to a public records request last year, Murillo made repeated reference to a woman named Tyler, but the woman is not identified as a police officer in that interview.
The April 2018 shooting of Officer Cordova shook the Nogales community, which had not seen an officer killed in the line of duty in more than a century.
Murillo allegedly killed Cordova amid a carjacking spree after the officer pulled him over at the north end of Nogales. Murillo reportedly exited the stolen vehicle he was driving and fired repeatedly at Cordova in his parked vehicle with an AR-15 rifle.
County prosecutors filed noticed in February that they will seek the death penalty for Murillo. The trial is expected to begin in 2021.