Body found in Verde River was suspect in officer shooting

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CAMP VERDE, Ariz. — The body of a man found in the Verde River has been positively identified as Valentin Rodriguez, suspected of shooting an Arizona police officer, authorities said Thursday.

Yavapai-Apache Nation Police Sgt. Preston Brogdon is recovering from a bullet to the abdomen on February 9. A bullet passed through his vest and belt, punctured his small intestine and shattered his pelvis and hip.

Brogdon and another officer had responded to reported gunshots near the Verde River on the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Rodriguez got out of a vehicle and fled shooting officers, the tribe said.

The FBI and Yavapai County had offered a reward for information in the search for Rodriguez. A father and son were fishing on Friday when they spotted a body later identified as Rodriguez.

It is not known how Rodriguez died. The Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office, which performed the autopsy, did not immediately return a message Thursday asking for the cause and manner of death.

FBI spokesman Kevin Smith said the case remains open. The agency is investigating the circumstances of the shooting and will present the information to prosecutors before dropping the case, he said.

Rodriguez had been charged in federal court with assaulting two tribal officers and discharging a firearm in a violent crime.

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