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Federal Agent Killed By Man Who Threatened Law Enforcement For More Than 1 Year

Chase White
United States Marshals Service
handout | agency
Chase White.

U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales fought back tears as he spoke at a press conference Friday.

"We pray for the family of the deputy we lost and to the U.S. Marshal family."

Deputy Marshal Chase White was 41, married and a father of four. This weekend, White was supposed to prepare to leave for an extended deployment with the Air Force.

He’d been with the Marshal's Service three years.

"As difficult as it is, we hope that we are never up here having to present this but we know intellectually that it will going to happen," Gonzales said.

A federal criminal complaint filed Friday laid out the charges against his suspected killer, 26-year-old Ryan Schlesinger.

In 2017, Schlesinger threatened to kill officers who arrived at his home, then reached for a gun. He was tased and arrested. He showed up in person, demanding police return his gun. "Release my property or else," he allegedly wrote.

Late Thursday, White and the Marshal's Wanted Task Force moved in on Schlesinger with a felony arrest warrant. Police say Schlesinger fired as the agents forced their way into the home on Tucson's northwest side.

Deputy White was shot. He died at Banner University Medical Center. Schlesinger surrendered after a standoff. He was arrested unharmed, wearing body armor and a ballistic helmet. 

"It’s unfortunate that a tragic event like this reminds us of the danger that they face day in and day out that we sometimes forget about," said Betsy Strange, first assistant U.S. attorney for Arizona.

She said Schlesinger faces life in prison or execution. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next week.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.