Police Mourn Slain Officers; Colleague Indicted for Murder
YUMA, Ariz. (AP) _ As hundreds of police officers from across the state gathered to mourn two slain drug agents, a third undercover agent was indicted for their murders.
Police helicopters led a procession of 400 squad cars on Tuesday as officers, many with strips of black tape across their badges, accompanied the flag-draped coffins of state Department of Public Safety Sgt. Mike Crowe and Yuma police Lt. Dan Elkins.
At the same time, Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Ray Hudson Jr. was indicted on charges he shot his colleagues July 4 after they surprised him as he tried to steal guns and drugs from an evidence room where the three worked. The men were members of the Southwest Border Alliance, an elite multi-agency task force fighting the drug trade around Yuma, on the Arizona border with California and Mexico.
In addition to two counts of first-degree murder, the 37-year-old former Marine was charged with aggravated assault and burglary. Prosecutors have not said whether they would seek the death penalty.
Hudson, a popular officer with a flawless record, was jailed on $15.5 million bail.
``It makes you think twice when you’re heading to work, wondering if you’re going to make it back home,″ said Ben Fasavalu, a Yuma County probation officer.
With bagpipes wailing ``Amazing Grace,″ the funeral procession moved through the streets and ended in a packed convention center, where Crowe, 41, and Elkins, 42, were eulogized as good friends and brave officers.
Gov. Fife Symington said Crowe’s choice of career made him a hero.
``In an age so cynical about law and justice he chose the life of a police officer,″ Symington said. ``He knew the risk and without complaint or hesitation, with little recognition in return, he accepted that risk.″
Elkins, the son of a former Yuma police chief, held a high place of his own in the law enforcement community, Yuma Police Chief Robbie Robinson said.
``He earned everything he got and he was always first in line, volunteering for hard duty,″ Robinson said.
Crowe was buried at a cemetery in sight of the police station. Elkins’ remains were to be cremated.