Published March 04, 2014
One Phoenix police officer is dead and another is recovering after a shootout that killed a man wanted on a felony warrant.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia announced that a member of the department's fugitive apprehension team died of his wounds at a hospital a few hours after the shooting, which took place at around 3:30 p.m. Monday.
His name wasn't immediately released but Garcia says the man was a 21-year veteran. The other officer is a nine-year veteran and remains in intensive care following surgery. The officers' names have not been released.
"At this point, this is an ongoing investigation. The information we have right now is we have two detectives were attempting to make an arrest of a known subject that had a felony warrant. As they were trying to apprehend him, he pulled out a weapon and fired at our detectives. Our detectives did return fire, the suspect is down, deceased here at the scene. Our two detectives were injured and were shot during this exchange of gunfire," said Assistant Police Chief Sandra Renteria.
The shootout occurred after the suspect fled in his car, caused a three-vehicle collision, and ran away on foot before exchanging gunfire with officers outside a check cashing and title loan business.
"It was obvious that the guy was out of control," Wayne Monton, who owns a nearby business and witnessed the shooting, told the Associated Press "After the crash and the shooting, everybody just took off running. It was chaos."
"This is the worst part of policing. The hard part for policing. The tragic part of policing. But also the part that strikes a chord to officers in relation to losing a fellow officer, but also to our citizens," said Chief Garcia. "I ask the people of Phoenix to keep the both families and officers in their prayers ... this is a very difficult time for our department."
The suspect's name has not been released.
An 83-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man suffered minor injuries in the car crash that closed an intersection for several hours as authorities gathered evidence.
Nick Cusson, the manager of a restaurant in a shopping center near the intersection, said he heard more than a dozen gunshots just a few minutes after arriving at work.
"The next thing you know, the whole parking lot is scattered with people," Cusson said. "Then within about 30 seconds, we see all these cops driving up."
Cusson said he had noticed several unmarked police cars parked nearby just before the shooting but didn't think much of it.
"Then I guess there was a shootout," he said. "We were all looking out the window. We were kind of curious. We weren't sure they were gunshots at first."
Cusson said he was closing his shop because the entire area had been cordoned off by police.
"No one can come pick their food up and we can't get delivery drivers out," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.