Sunday, May 20, 2007

Quartzsite Officer Shot in Motorhome Stop. RVers Missing

QUARTZSITE, Ariz. -- An officer shot, the gunman on the run and now an elderly couple is missing in the wake of a traffic stop near Quartzsite.

Department of Public Safety detectives said they learned the officer, from the Quartzsite Marshal's Office, conducted a traffic stop on a 1976 Ford Motor Home around 5 a.m. on Thursday.

As the officer began to exit his patrol car, several shots were fired from the motor home by an unknown number of suspects, DPS said.

After the officer was shot, the driver of the motor home fled the scene, investigators said.

Police said they eventually found the motor home abandoned in the La Posa Campground parking lot in the Quartzsite area.

Investigators said they learned the motor home was registered to Kenneth W. Miller and Betty Lou Japel of McMinnville, Oregon.

The license plate on the motor home at the time of the shooting belonged on a 1986 Dodge pick up truck, which is also registered to the couple, DPS said.

That Dodge pickup truck, described as a black and silver Dodge Ram 50, is missing, along with the Oregon license plate that should have been on the motor home, which is H109178, investigators said.

Authorities said they don't know where Miller and Japel are.

DPS officers said they are following leads from local Quartzsite residents. Investigators said they are trying to locate a person known only by the nickname "Groundhog" who is thought to be an investigative lead.

He is believed to be a white male, approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall, with brown eyes and weighing 275 pounds. He is bald and is believed to be staying in Quartzsite.

Officers said anyone with information regarding the investigation is urged to call 602-223-2212.
Source & Photo...

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