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Deaths of Arizona deputy, New Hampshire couple may be linked

January 10, 2012 |  9:59 am

Arizona authorities are investigating whether a former Marine killed in a shootout with police is the link between the mysterious deaths of a New Hampshire couple and a fatal attack on a Maricopa County deputy sheriff in recent days.

The Marine, identified as Drew Ryan Maras, 30, described in various media interviews with neighbors as having a fascination with cosmology and predictions about the end of the world, was killed Sunday in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies in Phoenix.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy William ColemanHe is suspected of gunning down Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff William Coleman, who was responding to a burglary call in Anthem, Ariz., when a man got out of a van and opened fire with a high-powered rifle, according to investigators.

A high-powered rifle was also the weapon that apparently was used to kill James Johnson of Jaffrey, N.H., and Carol Raynsford of Nelson, N.H., whose bodies were found in a car on a remote road near Sedona, Ariz., on Friday. Authorities have not linked the two shootings but are investigating whether they could be tied together because of the similarity of the weapons.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others will brief the media later Tuesday morning. No motive has been established in either attack. Coleman, 50, was a 20-year veteran of the county sheriff’s office. He was assigned to patrol but had previously worked lake patrol as well. He is survived by a wife and two children, ages 4 and 7, and has grown children out of state.

Johnson and Raynsford, both 62, were described as outdoors enthusiasts committed to preserving the environment.

Maras, the person investigators believe is responsible for shooting the deputy, served four years in the Marine Corps.

Neighbors, in a variety of media outlets, said he was the author of a book, “Open Your Eyes: To 2012 and Beyond,” though police officials said Tuesday morning that they could not confirm the body was of the same man who wrote the book.

The title refers to Mayan prophecies that the world will end Dec. 21, 2012.

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-- Michael Muskal

Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy William Coleman. Coleman, 50, was gunned down early Sunday. Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

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