Matt Misener

Matt Misener, 35, of Safford, a mechanic at the Morenci mine, was shot and killed on U.S. Highway 1919 at the horseshoe curve in Clifton on Feb. 10. A suspect in the shooting is in custody.

CLIFTON — A local mechanic at the Morenci mine, a father of three, is dead following a shooting in Clifton on Monday, Feb 10.

The shooting took place on U.S. Highway 191, at milepost 166, forcing the closure of the highway between Clifton and Morenci for more than four hours.

“At approximately 4:57 a.m., our Clifton Fire Chief called in a possible shooting. Once officers arrived on scene, we did determine there was a shooting and that’s what officers are investigating. The individual was pronounced dead on scene and the cause of death was gunshot wound,” Clifton Police Chief Omar Negrete told The Copper Era.

Clifton Police identified the victim as Matt Misener, 35, of Safford. Clifton Police, in a release issued Thursday, Feb. 13, said “succumbed to gunshot wounds he received, causing him to wreck while driving to work.”

Negrete confirmed that a suspect, Eduardo Montano Jr., 36, of Tucson, is in custody. He is being held on $1 million bond.

“We were able to establish probable cause as the person or persons involved in the homicide investigation,” Negrete told the Copper Era. “Right now, we don’t know exactly the motive, but we are following leads on that. Investigators are already back down in Tucson — he was apprehended in Pima County — so they’re heading down there to continue the investigation. We don’t have a motive at this time, but we are currently investigating all leads.

“This happened before the horseshoe (curve between Clifton and Morenci), during the shift change for the mine,” Negrete continued, “so we do believe there were other witnesses that might have seen something on their way to work. We’re encouraging people to call law enforcement agencies and provide any information that might be helpful to our investigation.”

At 5:36 a.m., Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office closed the highway to traffic, routing all passenger vehicles, including school buses, through Shannon Hill. Commercial vehicles were forced to stop on the side of the roadway.

The road was reopened at 9:55 a.m.

Anyone with information is asked to call Clifton Police Department at 928-865-4566.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help the family with expenses. It can be found at https://bit.ly/3bJDW6M.

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