Man accused of starting fires, shooting at forest official shot and killed by law enforcement

FOREST LAKES, AZ - Authorities say a man accused of setting multiple fires and shooting at a forest official earlier this month is dead after a shooting involving officers.

Authorities have been searching for the suspect, identified as Luis Fransisco Vasquez, since July 4 after he allegedly started eight brush fires near Pond Circle in Forest Lakes.

On Saturday, Forest Lakes Fire District took to Facebook to report that the 32-year-old “person of interest” who last lived in Tucson was found near Timber Camp, 20 miles northeast of Globe.

According to an FBI spokesperson, officers with the U.S. Forest Service and San Carlos Apache Tribal Police Department responded to the San Carlos Reservation near Globe around 2 a.m. Saturday after learning that Vasquez was in the area.

During the incident, Vasquez shot at the officers who responded by firing back. The suspect was killed at the scene.

No additional details were immediately available regarding the shooting. The investigation is ongoing.

The deadly shooting follows several bizarre and dangerous incidents involving Vasquez. 

On July 5, a forest service employee attempted to make contact with a man who matched the description of the alleged arsonist provided by witnesses. During the incident, the man fired a shotgun and handgun multiple times at the employee who was able to flee the area unharmed.

Law enforcement launched a manhunt to locate the suspect but were not immediately successful.

On July 9, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office reported that the man was spotted getting out of a car on the Apache Reservation near Highway 60 and Cibecue Road.

According to NCSO, Vasquez was spotted in the backyard of a residence. When confronted by the homeowner, he allegedly asked for food and water but was turned away.

The homeowner immediately called officials and described the unidentified man as wearing the same outfit as seen in previous surveillance photos. He was also seen carrying three bags and mentioned that he was heading to Mexico.

Multiple law enforcement agencies came together to set up a perimeter in the area.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said they believe Vasquez was a transient and had been residing near the Canyon Point Campground over the past few months. 

The Phoenix office of the FBI is taking control of the shooting investigation; further details are unavailable. 

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