Tucson officer released with bullet lodged in brain - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


Tucson officer released with bullet lodged in brain

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(Source: Tucson Police Department) Sgt. Robert Carpenter was last reported in critical condition. (Source: Tucson Police Department) Sgt. Robert Carpenter was last reported in critical condition.

A Tucson police officer has been released from the hospital four weeks after being shot in the head while responding to a burglary call.

Tucson police say Sgt. Robert Carpenter was discharged from the hospital Wednesday.

They say the 12-year veteran will continue outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation with the goal of returning to work within six months.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that police officials say the bullet remains lodged in Carpenter's brain.

Richard "Ricky" Mendoza, 29, is being held on suspicion of two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary and six counts of being a felon in possession of a gun, police authorities said.

Officers said Mendoza isn't currently facing charges in the shooting on Nov. 18 that critically wounded Carpenter.

Carpenter was among officers who responded to a home in the city's midtown at about 5:15 a.m. on a break-in call. The shooting occurred during the investigation of two separate audible alarm incidents at the residence in the 4000 block of East Elmwood.

The first officer to arrive in the area encountered a man in the yard of the residence, Villasenor said. The officer gave the suspect verbal commands in an effort to control him until other officers arrived to assist.

The man ignored the commands and instead began running from the home, Villasenor said. Several officers searched for him for about one hour, but were not able to successfully locate or identify him.

Police determined the man had broken into the home, Villasenor said. Officers were able to lock up the house before concluding their investigation and leaving the area shortly after 4:15 a.m., the chief said. 

About one hour later, at 5:15 a.m., officers were advised of a second audible alarm coming from the same home. No suspects were immediately found. 

Officers were standing outside the house when they heard a loud noise and Carpenter fell wounded, Villasenor said.

It is believed the suspect may have arrived at the residence on a bicycle and may have been wearing a baseball-style hat.

Patrol personnel, the entire SWAT team, all available K-9 units and the Air Unit searched the neighborhoods in the area of East Broadway Boulevard and North Alvernon Way until 1 p.m.

Carpenter is a nearly 12-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department. He is currently assigned as a patrol sergeant in Operations Division Midtown and supervises a midnight shift, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

People wishing to help the Carpenter family can make a donation at www.tucsonpolicefoundation.org.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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