- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2013

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his department was buying 400 AR−15 assault rifles so his officers have the firepower they needed to “fight back” against criminals, hours after an officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was gunned down in his driveway.

“We live in violent society, even here in Maricopa County, and across our nation and the least we can do is to arm our deputies,” Sheriff Arpaio said Thursday during a press conference. “My deputies will carry guns 24 hours a day, even off-duty. If they see any incident occurring, they will take action anywhere in this valley.”

Detention Officer Jorge Vargas, 27, an eight-year veteran of the force, was shot as he was leaving for work about 4 a.m., the Associated Press reported. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, leaving behind a wife and son, 5.

The attacker fled the scene and is at large. He is described by witnesses as a Hispanic male in his 20s.

Sheriff Arpaio said the weapons purchase, made with money seized during drug raids, means deputies will be armed with the same type of weapons as criminals.