DPS re­leases the names of two sus­pects in shoot­ing near Quartzsite

Stop at bor­der sta­tion leads to ve­hi­cle chase

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES GIL­BERT @YSJAMESGILBERT

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 jgilbert@yu­masun.com or 539-6854.

MAR­COS RUIZ-ZAZUETA

RODOLFO BAL­LARDO

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