Third Suspect in "Execution" of Buckeye Officer Located and Released; Second Officer Will Survive, Police Say

Buckeye Police Department
Officers Christopher Paz (left) and Rolando Tirado. Tirado was senselessly killed by thugs during a traffic stop early Sunday morning.
The second officer shot during the execution-style murder of a Buckeye police officer over the weekend is expected to recover, the Phoenix Police Department announced today. Additionally, a third suspect in the case was located, questioned, and released, Phoenix Sergeant Tommy Thompson tells New Times.

A second suspect in the case who was also shot during a "life or death gun battle" between the wounded officer and the suspect who murdered Officer Rolando Tirado also is expected to pull through. It's unclear whether he'll be charged with any crimes.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning when Tirado and Officer Christopher Paz, were doing off-duty security work for a dance at the El Gran Mercado at 1800 South 35th Avenue when they spotted a Chevy Tahoe driving erratically in the parking lot.

Once the Tahoe was pulled over, Tirado approached the driver's side. As he was doing so, 23-year-old Cesar Tomas Quiroz Leon -- who Phoenix police tell New Times has an "extensive" criminal past in California -- got out of the passenger seat, walked around the back of the SUV, and fatally shot Tirado without warning.

After shooting, Tirado, Leon, and Paz engaged in what Phoenix police describe as a "life or death gun battle," during which Leon was fatally shot.

Paz suffered several gunshot wounds to the neck, shoulder, and lower body during the shootout, but was taken to the hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries. He's expected to survive, authorities now say.

During the shootout, the driver of the vehicle -- identified only as a 23-year-old Hispanic male --  was also hit with gunfire. He was taken to a hospital where he is also expected to survive.

The third suspect, described only as a 20-25-year-old, clean-shaven Hispanic male, ran from the scene of the shootout. He was located, questioned, and released.

Thompson tells New Times that investigators are in the process of determining what would cause Leon to open fire on officers. 

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My sympathies to the families of these two officers as well as to the Town of Buckeye, who apparently lost two hard working troops.So sad though, the Gran Mercado's owners will carry on business as usual next weekend. The owner Herb Owens won't care. He didn't care to get rid of usPhoenix P.D. or the MCSO when he was told that you need at least 6 officers working there at any given night. More officers were required when they had concerts with thousands in attendance. He didn't want to pay the money for Officer Safety.This is one of several shootings that have occurred at this location.

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