Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Hudson was popular with his colleagues, a rookie of the year, a member of an elite drug task force - all in all, the last man his boss expected to find on the other side of the law.
The 37-year-old former Marine is accused of shooting to death two fellow lawmen who caught him after hours in the task force office as he tried to steal confiscated guns and drugs.
Hudson was charged Friday with murdering Yuma police Lt. Dan Elkins and Sgt. Mike Crowe of the state Department of Public Safety.
All three were members of the Southwest Border Alliance, a group of officers from local, state and federal agencies fighting the drug trade around Yuma, on the Arizona border with California and Mexico.
Hudson, who has a beard and long, scraggly hair he grew for his job as an undercover officer, had a flawless record, said Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden.
“I wish I had 184 more files that looked like this,” a teary-eyed Ogden said Thursday. “If anything, he was the exemplary one out there, the one everyone hung on, the one with the common sense.”
Hudson came to the sheriff’s office in 1992 after he was honorably discharged as a Marine staff sergeant.
He was charged with shooting his colleagues late Tuesday with a Mac-10 semiautomatic pistol after they surprised him trying to steal from the task-force evidence room.
Crowe, 41, was shot three times in the back and pleaded, “Please don’t shoot me again,” but the gunman jammed another magazine into his weapon and shot him in the head, The Arizona Republic reported Friday, citing an unidentified source.
Elkins, 42, escaped to make a 911 call before being gunned down. Investigators wouldn’t say how many times he was hit.
A third man, evidence technician Jim Ehrhart, escaped being shot, allegedly because Hudson’s pistol jammed.
Amphetamines, methamphetamines, marijuana and 18 firearms logged as task force evidence were seized at Hudson’s home.