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'Shoot him!' Father recounts moment son shot man accused of killing MCSO deputy Juan Ruiz

Charles Birminghan, Sr.
Posted at 10:45 PM, Oct 11, 2021

TONOPAH, AZ — The family responsible for shooting the accused deputy-killer, Clinton Hurley, is sharing their story about the tense confrontation with the suspect.

"I said, 'shoot him! This guy is going to kill us if we don't,'" said Charles Birmingham Sr., who lives in Tonopah.

Hurley is currently in the hospital after being shot by Charles Birmingham Jr.

Hurley, a convicted child sex predator, will soon be facing a litany of other charges after investigators say he attacked and killed Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Juan "Johnny" Ruiz, then fired shots at both Birmingham Jr. and Sr.

"He's one step above crazy, you know what I mean. I could just see it," said Birmingham Sr. He said his son was nearly carjacked by Hurley the day before the shooting.

"My dad spotted Hurley coming through the yard with a shiv," said Birmingham Sr. "And he snuck up on my son, but my son caught him out of the corner of his eye. Pulled [his] gun on him. And said, 'hey, what are you doing?'"

Birmingham Sr. said he and his son had no prior affiliation with Hurley until the Friday encounter. He told ABC15 they believe Hurley's mother lived across the street, which is why he was in the area.

Birmingham Sr. said he was over at his son's house Saturday when Hurley was once again spotted outside the home.

"I was like, 'This is it. We are going to finish this right now,'" said Birmingham. "I came out and said, 'Cops are coming. You're not leaving.'"

"He lifts his shirt and says,'Oh yeah?' and shows me his pistol. I said, 'Son, he has got a gun! He has got a gun!' And he's pulling it out. I'm telling my son. 'Shoot him! Shoot him!'"

Birmingham Sr. said his son's gun jammed.

"So [Hurley] turns towards my son and fires off two shots. By that time, my son re-cocked the gun and just blasted the guy right in the chest, then again in the [butt] as he was limping away, still firing."

Fortunately, the father and son were unscathed. Hurley, however, was injured and bleeding in the nearby gravel.

"He ran, and went over there, and laid there crying and screaming," recounted Birmingham Sr., motioning to a dirt area by the rural road, outside an adjacent mobile home park.

On the bloody gravel were evidence markers, paramedics' gloves, and syringes. Hurley was rushed in an ambulance to a nearby hospital before being transported to a Valley emergency room. He is expected to survive.

"I went around the corner and said, 'OK, that’s what you get... throw your gun and I'll come help you,'" said Sr. "And then he shot at me two more times."

Before long, deputies had descended on the normally quiet block.

"As soon as they handcuffed him over there they came to me and said, 'We were looking for this guy,'" said Sr.

The encounter was adrenaline-filled and one the Birminghams will remember forever, but it also comes with sadness.

"The Ruiz family needs more than your prayers," said Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone. "They need you to know that you care about the men and women put on a badge and uniform to sacrifice their lives."

Sheriff Penzone knows nothing can bring back his deputy but is grateful the manhunt was brought to a swift end, thanks to the Tonopah father and son.

"It is with a sense of relief that I expressed to you that I am glad to know that he is off of our streets," said Sheriff Penzone hours after the shooting.

The father and son are unsure if they are going to get the $10,000 reward money for Hurley's arrest. If they do get the cash, Sr. said they will give some of it to Deputy Ruiz's family and use some to repair the flimsy fence.

For the family though, it was never about the money. It was about survival, and they only have one regret.

"I wish we would’ve killed him the night before. The officer would still be alive," said Birmingham Sr.