May 5 trial set for 2 charged in Salt River officer's death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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May 5 trial set for 2 charged in Salt River officer's death

Salt River Police Officer Jair Cabrera Salt River Police Officer Jair Cabrera
PHOENIX (AP/CBS5) -

A May 5 trial has been set for two men charged in the fatal shooting of a Salt River police officer during a traffic stop in metro Phoenix.

Elijah Loren Arthur and Joey Michael Thomas have pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the May 24 death of Jair Cabrera of the Salt River Police Department.

Cabrera, 37, was shot at a convenience store where the stop was made.

Authorities say Arthur shot the officer before Cabrera got out of his car.

Thomas is accused of supplying the rifle, driving the car stopped by Cabrera and baiting the officer into the stop.

Investigators say Arthur acknowledged the shooting at the store's gas pumps but said he didn't intend to shoot Cabrera.

A federal grand jury indicted the two suspects in July.

Cabrera was shot during a May 24 traffic stop at a convenience store on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Just before the shooting, the suspect vehicle flashed its bright lights and turned its headlamps on and off several times while facing Cabrera's vehicle at a stop sign, according to the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center.

Investigators said as Cabrera was trying to pull over the red Pontiac, the passenger opened the door before the car came to a stop and aimed at the officer.

Several suspects were arrested, including Arthur.

Court documents state that Arthur balanced a semi-automatic rifle on the roof of his vehicle and fired two shots.

Authorities said Cabrera was struck in the head before he even got out of his patrol car.

Thomas is accused of supplying the rifle used in the shooting, driving the car stopped by Cabrera and baiting the officer into the traffic stop.

Cabrera was taken to a hospital in Scottsdale where he died within the hour.

The FBI agent who interviewed Arthur after he was arrested said Arthur appeared drunk, smelling of alcohol and with bloodshot eyes.

All the suspects who were arrested in the shooting are members or associated with the Eastside Los Guada Blood Gang.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.

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