Tucson officer shot in head

TUCSON, Ariz. – A Tucson police officer shot in the head after responding to a burglary alarm was in critical but stable condition Sunday following surgery, authorities said. The assailant remained on the loose.

Sgt. Robert Carpenter was standing with other officers near the home after checking it following a report of a break-in when, just before dawn Sunday, they heard a loud noise, and he fell, Chief Roberto Villasenor said. He underwent surgery and was able to speak afterward.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke said although Carpenter was talking, it was too soon to say if he would fully recover.

“It’s very, very early,” Hawke said. “He came out of surgery and was minimally responsive, which is encouraging, but it’s way too early to tell what the long-term effects are going to be given that the bullet struck him in the head.”

Police said they did not see anyone in the area immediately following the 5:15 a.m. shooting, but they confronted a man at the scene about three hours earlier when responding to a separate burglary alarm at the same address. The man ran away and escaped.

That man is wanted for questioning and may be involved in the second incident. He was described as a 20- to 30-year-old Hispanic man with a shaved head, 160 pounds, wearing a dark blue jersey with “43” on it. He also may have been wearing a red and white baseball cap.

Villasenor urged anyone who knows or hears anything to call police.

“People like this sometimes tend to brag on social network sites or to friends,” he said. “If they hear anything about this, they need to let us know. Because someone who would do this would just as easily shoot someone else, and we need to get this menace off the streets.”

Carpenter, 46, has been with the department for nearly 12 years and is a patrol supervisor on the overnight shift. Family and friends were with him at the hospital.