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Suspect in ambulance, house fire shooting incident identified

Tucson Police respond to an officer-involved shooting after two other shootings in the neighborhood near Silverlake Park Sunday.
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 02:13:45-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Police have identified the man suspected in two separate shootings in Tucson Sunday night that left two EMTs and a fire captain hospitalized.

Leslie Scarlett, 35, is said to be in critical condition after an officer shot him after the incidents near the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Duvall Vista, southeast of downtown Tucson.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said Scarlett had a history of mental health issues and spent six years in prison for armed robbery. Due to that conviction, he was also prohibited from possessing a firearm.


Magnus also identified the bystander who was shot and killed at the house fire -- 44-year-old Cory Saunders, who leaves behind an 11-year-old son who tragically witnessed the shooting. A bullet grazed the head of another bystander, who is ok.

Police say they now believe it started when Scarlett left the scene of the house fire and headed to Silverlake Park, where he found the ambulance and shot two EMTs responding to an unrelated medical call. After that, he headed back to the house fire on the 2100 block of East Irene Vista.

There, he began firing on firefighters at the scene as well as neighbors helping out. It was there that Saunders was fatally shot and a fire captain also suffered a gunshot wound to his arm.

Magnus says a woman living in the home is missing and presumed to be the unidentified individual who was found dead in the fire.

"I could not be more proud of our men and women," Tucson Fire Chief Chuck Ryan said at Monday's news conference. "This is so far out of the realm of what is normal. It's unconscionable, and it's difficult to not be intensely angry about what occurred."

RELATED: 'A tragic day': Tucson Fire Department Chief reacts to shooting

When the suspect drove off, Magnus says he rammed Officer Danny Leon's squad car. Leon -- an 8-year veteran of the department -- got out of the car and exchanged fire with the suspect, hitting him. Magnus says they're not releasing details about the weapon the suspect used pending further investigation involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

The two EMTs are still hospitalized -- a 20-year-old man shot in the head currently in the ICU and a 21-year-old woman shot in the chest and arm.