PHOENIX — A former undercover narcotics officer serving life prison terms for killing two fellow law enforcement officers in in Yuma 22 years ago has died in an Arizona prison.
Jack Hudson died Tuesday of natural causes in the health unit at the Lewis prison complex in the Phoenix suburb of Buckeye, the Arizona Department of Corrections said.
The Yuma Sun reported that the 59-year-old died of cancer. Department spokesman Bill Lamoreaux confirmed Hudson’s death but said he could not provide additional information on the circumstances.
Hudson was a Yuma County sheriff’s deputy in 1995 when he was arrested in the shooting deaths of Yuma police Lt. Dan Elkins, 42, and Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. Mike Crowe, 41, at the headquarters of a drug task force the evening of July 4, 1995.
Elkins, Crowe and an evidence technician went to the office that evening because there had been thefts of guns and drugs, and they surprised Hudson while he was trying to steal from the evidence room.
Crowe was shot first, then Elkins. The technician escaped being shot because Hudson’s gun jammed, according to news reports of the incident.
Hudson was arrested without incident when officers arrived.
Drugs and numerous guns logged as evidence were found at the home of Hudson, who had joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1992 after serving in the Marine Corps.
Hudson had been assigned to the task force for a year when the killings occurred. He had a beard and long-scraggly hair as an undercover officer but was clean-shaven with short hair at the time of the killing.
Then-Sheriff Ralph Ogden was quoted in a 1995 Associated Press article as saying after the shootings that Hudson had a flawless record.
“If anything, he was the exemplary one out there, the one everyone hung on, the one with the common sense,” Ogden said of Hudson.
Current Sheriff Leon Wilmot, who had been with the Sheriff’s Office for 10 years in 1995, said recalling the killings was painful.
“It was a rather dark day for this agency and something we tried to put behind us,” Wilmot told the AP during a telephone interview Wednesday.
“I think he should have gotten the death penalty to begin with … for what he did.”