Wounded Arizona Deputy Fired over Press Statements

By Bob Christie | January 5, 2011 | 5:22 PM EST

Phoenix (AP) - An Arizona sheriff's deputy shot during a confrontation with marijuana smugglers in April has been fired because of statements he made to a weekly newspaper.

Pinal County deputy Louie Puroll came under scrutiny after he was slightly wounded in what he described as an ambush in the Arizona desert.

The shooting came amid debate over Arizona's immigration law, and raised questions about why a deputy would look for armed drug smugglers in the remote desert without backup.

Puroll spoke to the Phoenix New Times after the investigation closed in October, reportedly saying he was approached previously by drug cartel members but didn't tell superiors.

Puroll was suspended after the story was published for what Sheriff Paul Babeu described as unprofessional conduct.

Babeu formally terminated Puroll Wednesday. Puroll plans to appeal.