DPS releases the names of two suspects in shooting near Quartzsite
Stop at border station leads to vehicle chase
The Arizona Department of Public Safety released the names Thursday of the two suspects from Wednesday morning’s deadly officer-involved shooting near Quartzsite.
According to the DPS, Rodolfo Ballardo, 31, whose last known address was in Wasco, Calif., was shot and killed in the incident.
The other suspect, now identified as Marcos RuizZazueta, 43 of Kingman, was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit possession of dangerous drugs, conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs for sale and conspiracy to commit transportation of a dangerous drug for sale.
At approximately 12:56 a.m. an AZDPS trooper stopped Ballardo and Ruiz-Zazueta, who were in a blue Ford Mustang, for a suspended license plate on Interstate 10 at milepost 57, which is 40 miles east of Quartzsite.
During the traffic stop, Ruiz-Zazueta, who was driving, was asked to exit the vehicle. While the trooper was speaking with him, Ballardo, who was a passenger in the vehicle, got out and fired a weapon at the trooper.
The trooper returned fire, shooting out the back window of the vehicle, which caused Ballardo to flee the scene, heading west on Interstate 10.
Yuma Sector Border Patrol Agents from the Blythe Station, who were responding to a call for assistance from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department in an attempt to locate the suspect, located the vehicle on I-10, near milepost 17, and attempted to stop the vehicle. Ballardo refused to pull over and agents pursued him to milepost 11 where the he stopped and fired at the agents.
Agents returned fire at Ballardo and he fled on foot and hijacked a big rig from a sleeping truck driver.
Agents, along with the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, pursued the truck until Ballardo eventually stopped in the 1300 block of Main Street in Quartzsite.
Ballardo fired at law enforcement again and was subsequently shot at by agents and pursuing agencies, where he sustained serious injuries. He was transported by ambulance to an area hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
None of the agents, other law enforcement, nor bystanders were injured during this event.
On Thursday, Acting
Chief Patrol Agent Carl Landrum said, “Every day our agents stand ready to protect the people of Arizona, while providing national security for our nation. I would like to commend the actions of all law enforcement
personnel involved, who relied on their training, vigilance, and commitment to service of this nation in defense of themselves, their law enforcement partners and all members of our communities.”
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.