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Border Patrol involved in 30-minute shootout with Phoenix homicide suspect

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents were involved in a shootout that wounded a man, suspected of homicide in Phoenix, at an Interstate 10 rest stop early Tuesday morning, authorities said. 

Sladjan Petkovic, 36, was shot and wounded during a 30-minute shootout in western Arizona with Border Patrol agents, La Paz County sheriff's deputies, state troopers, and Quartzite police. 

Phoenix police said that Petkovic was connected to the murder of 45-year old Steven Arvallo, who was shot and killed following an argument on Monday evening in west Phoenix. 

The victim, Arvallo, and Petkovic had been involved in an ongoing dispute, and were in another argument when Petkovic shot and killed him. Petkovic fired multiple times into the man's residence, but a woman and boy inside were not injured, said Phoenix police in a statement.

Petkovic tried to force his way inside, but could not open the door, so he shot at Arvallo several more times before fleeing in a gray Jeep Cherokee, authorities said.

Police alerted other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Petkovic's gray Cherokee. Later that night, someone called 911 and said there had been a shooting on I-10 at milepost 63, and that someone had shot at a semi-truck driver. 

The driver, who was not identified, said he was injured by shrapnel, according to a DPS official. 

Around 2:40 a.m., a trooper with Arizona Department of Public Safety found Petkovic at the Bouse Wash Rest Area, on Interstate 10 east of Quartzite. 

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According to a Facebook post from the La Paz County Sheriff's Department, Petkovic was "heavily armed and was taking cover within his vehicle in the parking area." 

When law enforcement officers made contact, there was a 30-minute exchange of gunfire. 

"Upon contact, the suspect and law enforcement officers began exchanging gunfire which lasted for at least 30 minutes," said a spokesman with the sheriff's office. 

Yuma Sector agents "arrived on scene in a backup role" and "subsequently discharged their firearms," said Rob Daniels, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman. 

Petkovic was "severely injured by gunfire and was transported to a hospital" in Phoenix, said the sheriff's department. 

No one else was injured during the incident, Daniels said. 

Along with DPS and the sheriff's deputies, the FBI and CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility are involved in the ongoing investigation, said Daniels. 

In September, Yuma Sector agents shot and killed a man in a separate incident, involving a rolling shootout—in which a gunman first drove a Mustang and then hijacked a semi-truck—that ended at a gas station in Quartzite, Arizona.  

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LPCSD

Dozens of bullet holes mark the windshield of a Jeep Cherokee, driven by 36-year-old Sladjan Petkovic, who was wounded in a 30-minute shootout with law enforcement, including Border Patrol agents, on Tuesday morning.