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Sheriff: Jail sergeant lied about how he was shot



Tucson police closed an investigation into the shooting of a Pima County Jail corrections sergeant who admitted lying to detectives about the incident, Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik said Thursday.

Police detectives closed the case after Corrections Sgt. Eric Abbott, 51, confronted with physical evidence that conflicted with his initial account, changed his story about Tuesday’s shooting.

“I’ve been told he told two substantially different versions about how this happened,” Dupnik said, “and there are no witnesses.”

The sheriff would not elaborate on what Abbott said to police, just that Abbott eventually admitted to police detectives that he had lied about aspects of the shooting.

However, Abbott “still is insisting he was shot from an unknown source,” Dupnik said.

The investigation is being forwarded to the Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs section, which will continue looking into the shooting, Dupnik said.

He would not say what discipline the Pima County Jail corrections officer of 23 years might end up facing.

Abbott is on medical leave, recovering from his wound at home, Dupnik said.

Once Abbott returns to work, a decision will be made on whether to place him on leave pending completion of the investigation.

Abbott was shot in his right calf about 4:15 a.m. Tuesday in the jail parking lot, Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Thursday.

Officer Charles Rydzak said Abbott told police he had been on duty at the minimum-security Mission Facility, 1801 S. Mission Road, when he felt a sharp pain in his leg and realized he had been shot.

When police received the emergency call reporting the shooting, they sent officers from three divisions – the canine unit, air support and SWAT team snipers – to search the area for the shooter, Rydzak said.

The officers came up empty-handed.

No suspect weapon has been found in searches, including one of Abbott’s car, Pacheco said, adding the investigation was closed because there were no viable leads.

Pacheco said the police investigation will remain closed until further information or workable leads come to detectives.

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