Arizona

Bearizona wildlife park in Arizona on lockdown due to armed suspect

Bearizona in Williams, Arizona.  (Google Street View)

An animal wildlife park in northern Arizona was forced to go into lockdown Monday after reports of an armed suspect nearby following a police chase.

Continue Reading Below

Bearizona, located in Williams, posted a statement on its Facebook page that it was on lockdown due to a "possible armed and dangerous suspect" nearby. 

"No visitors are able to enter the park and we are working with local law enforcement agencies to evacuate visitors in a safe manner," the statement read.  Officials said the suspect, identified as John Freeman,  is believed to be armed and dangerous.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said in a statement the incident began after a K-9 unit tried to stop a car for a traffic violation on Interstate 40 just before 11 a.m. local time. The car then failed to yield and a male passenger appeared to be thrown from the vehicle, police said.

The car then continued on and exceeded speeds of 100 mph on tInterstate 10 befoe it eventually became disabled near Bearizona and crashed into the culvert, according to police.

Freeman then fled from the car and fired at least one shot towards deputies with a handgun, police said. He is believed to be injured.

Continue Reading Below

Deputies are asking everyone to avoid the area until the situation has cleared. Several law enforcement agencies and SWAT teams are coordinating search efforts in the area around I-40 and milepost 165 in the area of the wildlife park.

Schools in the area are also on lockdown, FOX 10 Phoenix reported.

Anyone who sees Freeman, who may be wearing a denim shirt and pants, is asked to call 9-1-1. Police are also warning drivers not to pick up hitchhikers in the area.

Bearizona is a wildlife park that "allows visitors to drive into "the wilderness" and witness herd and pack life from the safety and comfort of a private vehicle," according to a description on its Facebook page.

Read more from FOX10Phoenix.com.

Outbrain