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N4T Investigators: Suspect who shot at TPD officer released without bond

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Some law enforcement and members of the public are expressing outrage over the release of a man accused of shooting at a Tucson Police Department officer last Friday.

Authorities said 26-year-old Zachary Oscar Lee fired his weapon at a sergeant who was in street clothes working a case in midtown. The officer returned fire and wounded Lee.

Lee was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm within city limits.

According to Tucson police, Lee spent Friday and Saturday night in the hospital. On Sunday, he was booked into the Pima County Jail.

He was released Monday to pretrial services and released.

Mike Storie represents the Tucson Police Officer's Association. He told News 4 Tucson that he's, "never seen anything like it living [in Tucson]."

"I am ashamed to be living in Tucson where these kinds of people are getting released in this fashion," Storie said. 

Storie represents the officer who was shot at on Friday during an incident near 29th Street and Swan Road. 

"The officer is angry of course and he's fearful. We're very quick to release the police officer's names that are involved in these things. But now, we're releasing someone who, unprovoked, tried to kill him," he added. 

So, how does a suspect charged with aggravated assault for shooting at a police officer get to walk the streets 72 hours later with no bond? That's the question Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus expressed concern over on social media. 

Chris Magnus posted this on Twitter Wednesday morning:

"No, it's not safe. Takes it all the way to the level of trying to murder them with a gun, shooting in the middle of the day towards an apartment complex. How is that safe?" Storie said.

Lee's pretrial release comes on the heels of Pima County Attorney Laura Conover's new policy about cash bonds where dangerous individuals who pose a threat to the community should be held in the Pima County Jail.

However, if someone is arrested on a low-level nonviolent crime and doesn't pose a threat community, they should modify conditions of release.

During Lee's court hearing on Monday, the prosecutor asked the judge for a $50,000 bond. City Court Judge Rosemary Panuco denied it and placed him on pre-trial release.

We asked Conover about the case, however, she said, "I don't comment on pending cases." 

Conover did add that when it comes to crimes involving guns, "We are consistently asking for high bonds to make sure these people are held. The judge makes the final decision."  

News 4 Tucson, left a message for Judge Panuco and sent an email as well to hear what she had to say. She has yet to respond.

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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