Man Shoots Passenger, Then Self, On Highway 87

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The driver of a pickup truck shot himself while a female passenger, bleeding from her head, staggered out of the vehicle Sunday.

The man and woman, both unidentified, died from the bullets of a 9 mm handgun on Highway 87 near Deer Creek Village, Gila County Undersheriff Adam Shepherd said. The initial investigation yielded few clues, added Shepherd, and though he couldn't comment on the details of the incident, he said, preliminary evidence suggested that the driver shot the passenger, and then turned the gun on himself.

"There was no ID on them that we can verify. (Deputies) never made contact with the driver, and the woman couldn't convey anything." The incident happened after a K-9 sheriff's deputy pulled the truck over to investigate the motorist's slow, erratic driving, according to a press release issued by Gila County Sheriff John Armer.

"The deputy saw the right passenger door open and a female got out and stumbled back toward his vehicle," the statement noted. "She was bleeding profusely from the head."

A Department of Public Safety officer assisting the deputy tended to the female while the deputy approached the truck.

"As (the officer) approached the driver's side, he heard a pop and the vehicle rolled backwards, striking the deputy's patrol vehicle. When the deputy got to the vehicle he observed the male driver slumped over with a bullet wound to the head. There were no vital signs and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene."

Several minutes later, the woman died from the bullet wound to her head.

Both victims were of Latin descent and in their 20s. Neither the deputy nor the DPS officer fired their weapons.

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