Clipped From Arizona Republic
a r 11 o ir roan onicer is susuect in 9 e doss siayin Cocopah police chief's death was first considered suicide By Jim Walsh The Arizona Republic A Cocopah tribal police officer is a suspect in the shooting death of the small tribal department's police chief, whose body was found in a Scottsdale motel room last week, police said Monday. Chief Eric Monahan's death originally originally was considered a probable suicide, but an autopsy by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office determined it actually was a homicide. Monahan, 32, who was shot in the upper chest just below his neck, was found in the room of Officer Princetta Thomas, 25, at 11:30 p.m. last Tuesday at the Hospitality Suites Resort, 409 N. Scottsdale Road, said Sgt. John Cocca, a Scottsdale police spokesman. Thomas was the only other person present during the shooting, Cocca said. She was interviewed by detectives detectives shortly afterward, he said. "Some of the physical evidence does not coincide with the original story she told police," Cocca said. "Everybody was in shock (about the slaying). They can't believe it," said Cocopah Police Commissioner T.C. Canterbury, who was Monahan's supervisor. Question of an affair Cocca would not comment on why Monahan was in Thomas' room or what the relationship was between Monahan and Thomas. Cocca said Monahan was not in bed when found by officers and was fully clothed. Canterbury said he does not know whether Monahan and Thomas were having an affair. "I never knew of anything or heard of anything, but that doesn't mean there wasn't" a relationship, he said. But Canterbury cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the circumstances of Monahan's death. Cocca said that a semiautomatic pistol was found in the room but that police are awaiting the results of MORE LOCAL NEWS, A6, A7 ballistics tests to identify the weapon used in Monahan's killing. Also being examined are the department-issued department-issued department-issued guns of Monahan, Thomas and tribal Officer Dwayne P. Waters, who accompanied them to the Valley from the southwestern Arizona reservation, Cocca said. The three tribal police officers were in the Valley to attend a U.S. District Court trial concerning a drive-by drive-by drive-by shooting on the reservation. Canterbury said Thomas and Waters Waters have been placed on paid leave. Thomas also is the subject of an internal-affairs internal-affairs internal-affairs investigation, he said. Detectives on reservation Two Scottsdale detectives were on the reservation Monday continuing their investigation, Cocca said. Thomas has been with the department department for a little less than a year, Canterbury said. A resident of nearby Imperial Valley, Calif, Monahan joined the tribal department in 1988. He is survived by his wife, Rose, and their three daughters. Canterbury described Monahan, who was buried Monday, as a resourceful, loyal employee who was given a trustworthy position at a young age because of his professionalism. professionalism. Canterbury said there were no indications that Monahan was despondent. despondent. "He had a beautiful wife and children. He had no problems at work whatsoever," the police commissioner said. Monahan, who headed a department department with five officers, was excited about recently taking up sky diving as a hobby, Canterbury said. "When you know the players, you wonder what the motive was and why it happened," Canterbury said. "It baffles me. I really don't know why."