Suspect who shot Scottsdale officer tied to previous sexual assault investigation
Kenneth Hearne, 37, was shot by officers the next day and later died
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — The man accused of shooting a Scottsdale police sergeant last week had been wanted in connection to a sexual assault that happened last fall.
Scottsdale police provided an update on the investigation that began as officers tried to serve a warrant last Friday night for Kenneth Hearne, 37. Police say he was the suspect in a sexual assault that happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 12 at the San Marin Luxury Suites & Apartments in Old Town Scottsdale.
Scottsdale police Lt. Lee Campbell said that the victim, a 70-year-old woman, had been subjected to a “violent sexual assault” by a man who was armed. In November, police got a tip from someone who identified Hearne as the suspect in the assault. His description also matched the person seen on surveillance camera leaving the apartment complex after the crime.
After further investigation, including interviews with acquaintances, Hearne was later classified as a person of interest in the case. “At this time, the decision was made, because he is a violent offender who committed a violent offense, that we could not let him leave. So that was the time to make that decision to go ahead and apprehend him,” Lt. Campbell said.
On Jan. 6, as Scottsdale officers tried to serve a search warrant at an apartment in downtown Phoenix, Sgt. Scott Galbraith was shot and Hearne escaped. Sgt. Galbraith, a 19-year veteran and supervisor with the department’s Special Assignment Unit, was taken to a hospital where he’s since been treated and released.
Officers located Hearne the next day in Tempe and he was shot after allegedly pulling out a gun. Hearne died later at an area hospital. On Jan. 7, DNA was collected from Hearne and the Scottsdale Crime Laboratory later confirmed it matched the suspect in the sexual assault.
“We work tireless hours to solve these cases,” Lt. Campbell said. “I can’t thank my staff enough for the amount of work they’ve done on this, and the whole purpose was to bring a violent offender off the road so that he cannot victimize another person.”
Sources previously told Arizona’s Family that Hearne was a gang member in Sacramento with a long criminal history.
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