Public officials targets of murder, local leaders on high alert

PHOENIX - Sheriffs and high ranking officials say they are on high alert after a string of public leaders were murdered around the country.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for the slogan "Toughest Sheriff in America" is watching his back. 

Lisa Allen, Arpaio's Media Relations Director, says the sheriff has been the target of serious threats before but this string of killings has everyone on heightened alert.

Allen couldn't go into detail but said the sheriff has security and everything is being done to keep him safe.

Four public officials were shot and killed in the past two months alone. 

In West Virginia, Sheriff Eugene Crum was shot at point blank range while having lunch in his car. It was in broad daylight. The sheriff was known for taking on drug dealers.

Just this past weekend, a Texas prosecutor and his wife were murdered at their home. Just weeks before that, the prosecutor's top deputy was shot dead near the courthouse.

In March, a Colorado prison chief was shot and killed at his front door.

The murders have also prompted the Pinal County Sheriff's Office to take action.

"We are in the process of making physical security improvements to the structure. The sheriff's security has not changed," PCSO spokeswoman Tamra Ingersoll said.

"What I struggle with is understanding the whys behind these recent murders," Sheriff Arpaio said in a written statement. The brazenness of these acts is confounding. Inside one year, two of my deputies were shot, one killed and one nearly killed, and now law enforcement officials across the nation seem to be targeted."

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has asked employees to be aware of their surroundings. 

"Given the nature of the cases we handle and the threats encountered on a regular basis, this office maintains a degree of security to guard against threats to prosecutors and employees," Jerry Cobb, Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman, said.


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