Two off-duty police officers were caught in the chaos Friday morning when a man sprayed 12 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle into their east Mesa neighborhood.
Witnesses said bullets ricocheted off the pavement and penetrated garage doors and homes about 2:15 a.m. near Signal Butte and Broadway roads.
“It put the fear of God into everybody in the neighborhood,” Apache Junction police Capt. Thomas Kelly said.
Kelly said Octavio Barraza of Mesa used the assault rifle to rob a Circle K at 2360 W. Broadway Road in Apache Junction and then drove to the east Mesa neighborhood. Kelly said Barraza did not fire any bullets during the robbery.
“He didn’t fire a round,” Kelly said. “He just slid the ejector tube back and forth.”
Barraza remains a fugitive from both Apache Junction and Mesa police.
Police said squealing tires from Barraza’s vehicle awoke an off-duty Mesa officer, who came outside to investigate. One resident, who declined to give his name, said he was with the off-duty officer when bullets flew over their heads.
“We were running and watching bullets hit the asphalt,” the resident said. “To this day we don’t know why we didn’t get hit.”
Police said some bullets entered the home of an off-duty Phoenix officer who also lives in the area. No injuries were reported.
Kelly said police searched Barraza’s home and found drugs and additional weapons. Police said Barraza should be considered armed and dangerous, and anyone who sees him should call 911 immediately.