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Rifle Used In I-17 Shootout Was Stolen From Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said a high-powered rifle used to fire at officers during a shootout on Interstate 17 was stolen from the sheriff’s office.

Penzone said the suspect also had a fully automatic weapon stolen from the agency. Both weapons were stolen between 2010 and 2015.

At a press conference, Sheriff Penzone said an audit found that 29 weapons were stolen during that span — when longtime Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in power.

Penzone said there was little to no oversight in the past over MCSO’s weapons.

“The lack of disciplines that occurred in this organization from leadership and the impact that it’s had on the men and women is unforgivable, and this is an example of it, and we’re trying our best to address these issues, because the good men and women of this organization deserve better,” he said. “And they deserve a reputation that reflects their efforts, so there’s a lot of work still to be done.

The suspect was killed during Monday’s shootout and the I-17 was closed in central Phoenix for about 18 hours.

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Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.