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Ahwatukee shootout suspect sentenced to 36 years in prison

Warren Evan Jose, 38, of Tucson was part of a chaotic car chase in 2019 that killed one of his co-conspirators.

PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast in 2019.

An Arizona man has been sentenced to 36 years in federal prison for making a "vile attempt to kill" federal agents during a deadly shootout in Ahwatukee three years ago.  

Warren Evan Jose, 38, of Tucson was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to several crimes committed on April 11, 2019, in the Valley. 

Jose and two co-conspirators were attempting to transport undocumented migrants to Phoenix when Homeland Security Investigations agents confronted them. 

A car chase ensued, resulting in one of the vehicles crashing through a brick wall. Jose began firing an AK-47-style firearm during the chase and came close to shooting the HSI agents, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of Arizona.

Theresa Medina-Thomas, who was driving Jose's car, was killed during the shootout with law enforcement.

Agents later found two undocumented migrants in the suspect's vehicle. One of them told investigators they were picked up from a stash house by Jose and his two co-conspirators, court records show.  

Credit: 12News

Prosecutors say Jose admitted to being under the influence of drugs and alcohol on the day of the incident. 

Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix, said Jose's lengthy prison sentence is a testament to the agents who worked to "bring justice to a man for his vile attempt to kill the federal agents who were attempting to thwart his illegal activity."  

"This sentence means the defendant will spend nearly the rest of his life in prison for his actions," Brown said in a statement.

Jose pleaded guilty to the following offenses: Conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for profit with endangerment during which death resulted, two counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. 

Valentina Valenzuela, the co-defendant who survived the shootout, was sentenced in 2021 to 42 months in prison.  

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