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Officer Jair Cabrera

PHOENIX -- An internal police memo obtained by KTAR intimated that a tribal officer killed over the holiday weekend may have been ambushed.

Officer Jair Cabrera, a seven-year veteran of the Salt River Police Department, was gunned down while conducting a traffic stop in the early morning hours on May 24, near Pima and Chaparral in Scottsdale.

Since his death, 92.3 KTAR obtained a copy of an internal department memorandum disseminated to all police officers.

The memorandum suggests Cabrera was ambushed.

"Initial investigation shows that Officer Cabrera may have been baited into making the traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. Prior to the stop the suspect vehicle flashed its bright lights and turned its headlamps on/off several times while facing Officer Cabrera's vehicle at a stop sign.

The suspects, according the memo are believed to be associates or members of a gang. Many of the gang members have been indicted and convicted of numerous violent crimes, including the attempted murder of another law enforcement officer.

Detectives are exploring the possibility that Cabrera's tragic death could have been ordered by a powerful prison gang considered a "security threat group" by the Arizona Department of Corrections.

While detectives declined to comment on the situation, the memo stated after a gang member was shot and killed, prison group leaders began discussions of using the incident "to push for assaults against law enforcement officers."

While no specific threats or targets have been identified, officers are being warned "to use extreme caution."

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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