Search and rescue volunteers had little time to celebrate Labor Day this weekend after being called to look for a gun that a fugitive reportedly used to shoot at officers and then haul an injured woman up from the bottom of Fossil Creek canyon.
On Friday, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office asked Tonto Rim Search and Rescue to tap into their search skills and help locate a gun murder suspect Gabriel Jaramillo allegedly used to shoot at officers during a high-speed chase.
Jaramillo told officers he discarded the gun sometime after escaping officers on the north side of Roosevelt Lake.
Although Jaramillo has subsequently been caught, his weapon remains missing.
Searchers found no clues to the gun’s whereabouts after a thorough search of both the road Jaramillo drove on before running off into the desert and the coves around the lake.
TRSAR Commander Bill Pitterle said they did find plenty of rattlesnakes.
Due to the rough terrain, it was hard to track Jaramillo’s path, he said.
Several years ago, however, searchers did find a gun a man had hidden in a vacant lot.
“We found a disturbed piece of earth and found the gun buried,” he said.
On Sunday, the GCSO called TRSAR out again, this time to Fossil Creek.
A diabetic woman in her mid-40s had reportedly fallen several times.
After injuring her knee, the woman could not make the grueling hike out.
Along with TRSAR, the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department and Gila County Mounted Posse hiked down to the woman, loaded her on a horse-drawn litter and carried her out.
The mounted posse provided the power for the haul out, a horse pulling the litter while volunteers stood along the side to stabilize it.
After getting the call for help at 7:30 p.m., volunteers made it out of the canyon by 1:30 a.m., Pitterle said.
For more information on TRSAR, visit www.trsar.org, for the mounted posse, gilacountymountedposse.com.