Officer Daryl Raetz
Officer Daryl Raetz
Photo credit: Phoenix Police Department
Charges were filed late Monday night in the hit-and-run death of a Phoenix police officer.
Jesus Cabrera Molina, who owns the SUV that allegedly struck and killed Officer Daryl Raetz, was arrested in the incident that occurred near 51st and Cambridge avenues the morning of May 19, according to The Arizona Republic.
The suspect was taken into custody less than 12 hours later on drug-possession charges, but it took detectives two weeks to put together enough evidence to determine that he was driving the 2000 Expedition that hit the 29-year-old officer.
Molina, 24, was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal collision.
Investigators believe Molina was impaired at the time of the incident and that he had a passenger in the SUV, who likely will not face criminal charges.
"This is still very much an ongoing investigation as our detectives continue to put things together," Sgt. Tommy Thompson told reporters. "Through the evidence, through interviews with witnesses as well as interviews with leads, we developed that probable cause to charge Jesus Cabrera Molina with those crimes."
Raetz was investigating a suspected drunken driving incident shortly after 3:30 a.m. when he was struck by the SUV.
The Iraq war veteran was a six-year veteran of the force and was survived by his wife and their young daughter.
Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia hopes that the arrest may bring some peace to the officer's family and his colleagues.
"We still have a very long journey ahead of us as we move forward on the death of Officer Daryl Raetz. But in relation to bringing justice to this issue and justice to his family and the Phoenix Police Department, we believe very strongly that we’re headed in the right direction."
Officials said the investigation into the incident remains active.
Officer.com will provide more information on this story as it becomes available.