Gunman Hijacks Tractor Trailer, Dies in Rolling Shootout with Border Patrol Agents

USBP Shooting
U.S. Border Patrol
Quartzsite, AZ

PHOENIX, Arizona — A local man led authorities on a high-speed chase turned rolling gun battle in a hijacked a tractor trailer died in a shootout with U.S. Border Patrol agents in Quartzsite, Arizona.

The case began when local authorities pulled over a Ford Mustang that was traveling along I-10 over a traffic violation about 125 miles west of Phoenix. As the trooper discussed the reason for the traffic stop with the driver, a passenger got out the Mustang and fired a weapon at the trooper, Havasu News reported.

The trooper was able to push the suspect’s arm away as the gun fired, took cover and returned fire as the suspect ran back to the car and drove off on Interstate 10. Authorities immediately arrested the driver who stayed behind and did not appear to put up any resistance. 

Shortly after, La Paz County Sheriff’s Deputies spotted the fleeing Mustang heading west and requested assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol. The responding federal agents found the vehicle and tried to pull it over, setting off a rolling shootout where the gunman tried to flee while at the same time exchanging gun fire with federal authorities. Soon after, the gunman stopped the car and ran to a parked tractor trailer where he assaulted the sleeping driver and hijacked the vehicle in his attempt to evade authorities.

The man now driving a tractor trailer continued firing at authorities for several more miles until he was forced to stop near a gas station in Quartzsite, where he and authorities exchanged shots one last time. U.S. Border Patrol agents wounded the man and then tried to save his life. The man died soon after at a local hospital.

Authorities have not released the suspect’s identity but claimed he was a “career criminal” sought on various warrants.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)