After a three-day manhunt, the search for a man who shot at a Forest Service officer after an alleged involvement in eight fires in Forest Lakes is winding down.
Coconino County Sheriff’s officials chose to scale down their search on Wednesday night after air and ground crews from multiple law enforcement departments could find no evidence that the man was in the area.
“We evaluated our situation scaled back our operation because we had zero contact with this guy,” Coconino County Sheriff’s PIO John Paxton said. “We were using a lot of resources to find this guy and at some point you have to rethink your tactics because ours were not working.”
By Thursday morning 10 law enforcement officers were in Forest Lakes, a large number for the small unincorporated town, but a far cry from the 100 officers ranging from Department of Public Safety SWAT teams and FBI agents roaming the woods on Tuesday.
Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jim Coffey said his team had received a number of phone calls about potential sightings of the suspect as far away as Page.
“We are receiving a number of phone calls with information about the suspect,” Coffey said. “We are investigating every lead.”
The sheriff’s office has also received a number of calls inquiring about the safety of the area to which Coffey said he could not guarantee the safety of hikers and campers at this time, although a chance encounter is unlikely.
The Canyon Point Campground has been reopened.
The size of the search area makes it difficult for law enforcement to find their target since the area now spans most of northern Arizona.