U.S. Army veteran among 4 killed in Arizona eviction shooting

U.S. Army veteran among 4 killed in Arizona eviction shooting

A local constable, who was also a U.S. Army veteran, was among four people fatally shot at an apartment complex while serving an eviction notice in Tucson, Arizona, officials said. The shooting happened just after 11 a.m. on Thursday at the Lind Commons Apartments, Tucson police said.

Few details have been released, but Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey identified Pima County Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay, 43, as one of the victims in an order to fly flags at half-staff in all state buildings Friday.

“The loss of Constable Deborah Martinez is felt across our state,” Ducey said in a news release. “Whether it was serving in the U.S. Army or carrying out her duties as a constable for Pima County, she dedicated her life to helping others and her community.”

Martinez-Garibay became a constable for Justice Precinct 8 earlier this year, Ducey said. She was a Tucson native “who will be remembered for the way she treated others with dignity and respect,” the governor said.

“It’s just unreal, for someone to do that to another person,” her husband, Gabriel Garibay, told the Tucson Sentinel on Thursday. “I’m still trying to put it together. It seems like it’s unreal, I’m still thinking that it’s a joke somewhere, but it’s just a way to describe it. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, Martinez-Garibay’s body was escorted from the area by law enforcement officers, who formed a guard of honor. Motorcycle police officer and other law enforcement vehicles drove in a line with lights flashing.

Her Ford F-150 remained at the scene Thursday afternoon, with a small “Constable” sign on the door, the newspaper reported.

Martinez-Garibay enlisted in the U.S. Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and did multiple tours in Afghanistan before retiring after 16 years. After leaving the military, she volunteered at local nonprofits dedicated to veterans and their families, the governor’s news release said.

Local news outlets reported that an employee of the apartment complex was also killed in the shooting. There was no word early Friday on the identities of the other two victims.

Residents at the apartment complex were evacuated but later let back into their homes, news outlets reported.

Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson extended sympathies on behalf of the county to Martinez-Garibay’s family, friends and colleagues.

“I am heartbroken at this terrible tragedy and I will keep Constable Martinez and all who knew and loved her in my thoughts,” she said in a statement.

Martinez-Garibay, who was appointed constable after the previous one resigned, was hoping to be elected to the position during the November election. Under state law, Martinez-Garibay will be replaced on the November general election ballot by a candidate chosen by the Pima County Democratic Party, the Tucson Sentinel reported.

In 2019, Martinez-Garibay was honored for her work and received a vehicle from the Recycled Ride program, KPHO-TV reported.

In 2017 and 2018, Martinez-Garibay led the Tucson chapter of the PGA Hope program, KOLD-TV reported. The program sought to bring together military veterans with any disability and golf professionals.

“The biggest thing that I am seeing is more than they’re happy about learning the game of golf, they’re happy to have the social interaction with other veterans,” Martinez-Garibay said at the time.

Serving eviction notices can be dangerous. On Monday, an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office deputy was fatally shot and a second deputy was wounded while they attempted to serve eviction papers at a home near Oklahoma City, officials said.

Sheriff Tommie Johnson said the two deputies were serving “lock-out papers,” which is part of the eviction process, when one of the deputies went to the back door of the home and was shot. The second deputy was shot as he attempted to pull the first deputy to safety, Johnson said. A suspect in the Oklahoma shooting was taken into custody after leading law enforcement on a chase, officials said.