A sheriff's deputy in central Arizona was shot Friday afternoon by an alleged illegal immigrant, authorities said.
The shooting comes amid a national debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law that allows police to demand proof of legal residency. Arizona lawmakers say the law is needed because the federal government has failed to enforce border security with Mexico, allowing more than 450,000 illegal immigrants to move into the state.
The Pinal County deputy, who was not immediately identified, contacted authorities after being wounded in the desert, saying he had been shot by an illegal immigrant with an AK-47, said Lt. Tammy Villar, a sheriff's spokeswoman.
At one point, the deputy lost radio contact with authorities, leading to a search by foot and by air for him and the shooter, according to CNN affiliate KNXV. Video from the scene shows that the deputy was located while sitting in desert brush, surrounded by cactus. He was able to walk to a helicopter that airlifted him to a hospital.
KNXV: Deputy stopped five suspects
A spokeswoman at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center confirmed that the deputy was being treated there Friday evening. He was in good condition with stable vital signs, conscious and comfortable, she said.
KPNX: Deputy expected to survive
The search for the shooter continued into the evening. (Continues here)