On the evening of November 19, 2012, personnel from the Tucson Police Department served a search warrant at the Randolph Park Hotel located at 102 North Alvernon Way. During the course of the investigation surrounding the burglary incidents at the residence on East Elmwood and the shooting of Sergeant Robert Carpenter, information was developed regarding a person of interest related to the burglary cases. He was identified as Richard “Ricky” Mendoza Jr., 29 years old. Investigators learned that he was staying at the hotel on the evening of November 19, 2012. As such, various investigative, patrol, and SWAT resources responded to the area in order to locate and detain Mr. Mendoza. In addition, they obtained and served a search warrant for the room that he was staying in as well as vehicles associated to him that were in the parking lot of the hotel. As the investigation continued, detectives were able to definitively confirm Mr. Mendoza’s involvement in both of the burglary incidents that occurred at the residence. Mr. Mendoza was also determined to be the male that was wearing the dark blue jersey and seen fleeing on foot from the residence after the first burglary incident. He was arrested for 2 counts of First Degree Burglary, 1 count of Second Degree Burglary, and 6 counts of Prohibited Possessor, all felony offenses. Mr. Mendoza was transported and booked into the Pima County Jail. His booking photograph is included below. The investigation regarding the shooting of Sergeant Carpenter continues, and additional updates will be released once information becomes available.
The Tucson Police Department thanks the public for the tremendous show of support from the community as we continue working diligently to identify both the suspect(s) and motive(s) associated with the shooting of Sergeant Robert Carpenter. Investigators from both the Crimes Against Persons Division and Property Crimes Division as well as analysts from both divisions have continued the investigation. In addition, investigative personnel from the United States Marshal’s Service (USMS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) have been providing assistance as well. The investigators ask that anyone having information regarding suspicious persons or activities seen in or around the area to please call 911 or 88-Crime with the information. This is not limited to residents of the area, as other citizens may frequent the neighborhood when visiting friends or family, passing through to get to their place of business, or conducting business in the neighborhood (i.e. newspaper or other delivery personnel). The smallest piece of information may prove to be vital in solving this crime.
We would also like to thank the Tucson Police Foundation for taking the initiative to establish a mechanism by which donations can be made to provide assistance for the Carpenter family. The easiest way to make a donation is through the Tucson Police Foundation website (www.tucsonpolicefoundation.org). A direct link to the donation page can be found at: https://www.tucsonpolicefoundation.org. Once there, select the amount of the donation and then select from the drop down menu "Sgt. Robert Carpenter and Family.” Proceed to the checkout for entering credit card information. A receipt for the donation will be emailed once it is submitted and received. The Tucson Police Department seeks public assistance with identifying and locating the suspect(s) responsible for shooting one of our patrol sergeants on the early morning of November 18, 2012. The shooting occurred during the investigation of two separate audible alarm incidents that occurred at a residence in the 4000 block of East Elmwood. At approximately 1:43 a.m., offices from Operations Division Midtown were advised of an audible alarm that was coming from the residence. The first officer to arrive in the area encountered an adult male in the yard of the residence. The officer gave the suspect verbal commands in an effort to control the male until other officers arrived to assist. However, the male did not comply with the commands and instead began running from the residence. Several officers searched for the male for approximately 1 hour, but were not able to successfully locate or identify him. Upon further investigation at the residence, it was discovered that entry had been made in to the house. Officers were able to lock up the house before ultimately concluding their investigation and leaving the area shortly after 4:15 a.m. Approximately 1 hour later, at 5:15 a.m., officers were advised of a second audible alarm coming from the same residence. Sergeant Robert Carpenter arrived at the residence within a minute of the alarm notification. There were obvious signs of forced entry to the residence. As such, Sergeant Carpenter and two patrol officers conducted an interior check of the house to determine if any suspects remained inside. No one was found in the residence or on the property. Shortly after Sergeant Carpenter and the officers exited the residence, they head a loud noise, and Sergeant Carpenter fell to the ground. Sergeant Carpenter appeared to be injured. However, the cause of the injury was not immediately known. Emergency medical personnel from the Tucson Fire Department responded to the scene and ultimately transported Sergeant Carpenter to a local trauma center for additional medical evaluation and treatment. It was discovered that Sergeant Carpenter had been shot in the head. After emergency surgery was performed, he was listed in stable, but critical condition. Sergeant Carpenter’s family and friends have been able to be with him at the hospital, where he will remain for an undetermined amount of time.
Officers from throughout the city were advised of the incident and asked to respond to assist with the coordinated effort that was initiated to locate the suspect. In addition to the patrol personnel, the entire SWAT team, all available K-9 units, and the Air Unit responded to assist with the search. The neighborhoods in the area of East Broadway
Boulevard and North Alvernon Way were searched extensively. However, the suspect was not located. The coordinated search efforts concluded at approximately 1:00 p.m.
Detectives from the Homicide Unit responded as the primary investigative entity for the officer-involved shooting incident. Homicide Unit detectives are routinely tasked with primary investigative responsibilities on all officer-involved shootings. Detectives from the Burglary Unit also responded to assist the Homicide Unit due to the fact that there was indication that multiple burglary attempts were made at the same residence within a few hours on the early morning of November 18, 2012. The homeowner was contacted and cooperated fully with the investigation. As is standard practice in all officer-involved shooting incidents, investigators from the Office of Internal Affairs responded as well to conduct a parallel, administrative investigation.
At this time, the Tucson Police Department continues efforts to identify both the suspect(s) and motive(s) associated with the shooting incident. The male who fled from officers after he was found in the yard of the residence when officers responded to the first audible alarm is being sought as a person of interest in relation to the officer-involved shooting incident. He is described as a Hispanic male, 20-30 years of age, 5’08” tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds, with a shaved head. He was wearing a dark blue jersey with the numbers “43” in large red lettering and outlined
In white as well as light colored blue jeans. It is believed that he may have arrived at the residence on a bicycle and may have been wearing a baseball-style hat. A photograph of a hat that the male may have been wearing can be seen below.
Sergeant Robert Carpenter, 46-years of age, 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 (9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.).
The Tucson Police Department urges anyone having information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect(s) to call 911 or 88-Crime. In addition, a monetary reward is being offered via 88-Crime for information that leads to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting incident. Additional monies are being raised to contribute to the award amount.