IACP and FirstNet Built with AT&T Honor Indian Country Law Enforcement Section Officers of the Year
On April 4, 2022, the IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section along with FirstNet Built with AT&T honored Officer Maurisio Miranda and former Officer Javier Bracamontes of the Gila River Police Department as the 2022 Indian Country Officers of the Year.
On April 15, 2021 at 02:00, Gila River Police Department Officers Maurisio Miranda and Javier Bracamontes were on duty at a casino located on the Gila River Indian Community in Central Arizona, resolving a stolen vehicle incident. Their attention was immediately diverted to shots being fired approximately 50 yards from their location in the parking garage. The officers quickly observed a subject chasing an individual across the parking garage while shooting at them. Unbeknownst to the officers at that time, the shooter had already shot and killed another individual who lay dead next to their vehicle. The suspect cornered the fleeing victim, raised their gun to the victim's head and fired. The victim instinctively raised their bag to their face as a shield. A can of pepper spray inside of the bag stopped the bullet.
Officers Miranda and Bracamontes, without concern for their own safety, immediately engaged the suspect by pursuing and exchanging fire with the suspect until the suspect's gun jammed. The suspect tossed the gun to the ground and fled on foot from the officers. Both officers continued their pursuit and were able to catch up and contain the suspect. Officers Miranda and Bracamontes effectively used an electronic control weapon to safely take the suspect into custody. Throughout the incident they adjusted their tactics and use of force in response to the changing risk factors.
Further investigation revealed that this suspect was part of a white supremacist gang in the Phoenix area. He had followed the victims to the casino and hid in the back of their truck with the intention of killing them. When the victims exited the casino later that night the suspect ambushed them both.
Officer Bracamontes and Miranda embody what it means to be a police officer by their selfless acts, committed service, and heroism putting their own lives at risk for the safety of the community.