Phoenix police searching for person after officer shot; 1 in custody for questioning

Phoenix police say they are working a "critical incident" near Ninth and Atlanta avenues in Phoenix.

According to Phoenix police spokesperson Sgt. Brian Bower, police are investigating an incident in the area, with traffic restrictions in place for the surrounding neighborhood. A tweet from Phoenix police indicates an officer was shot.

The department tweeted at 4:53 p.m. that it had one person in custody for questioning relating to the shooting.

During a press conference at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, Bower said the officer was responding to the area of Ninth and Atlanta avenues to reports of a vehicle that crashed into the front yard of a residence.

Bower said an officer with less than one year of experience was the first to arrive at the scene and saw a male matching the suspect's description. Bower said the suspect pulled out a rifle as the officer drove closer and shot several times at her.

"The officer acted with courage as she noticed the threat and was able to get away from that threat immediately and provide more details to officers as they continued to canvas the area looking for the suspect," Bower said.

Bower said the man suspected of shooting the officer remained outstanding but didn't offer a physical description. He said detectives and officers are still investigating the incident and that traffic restrictions near Ninth and Atlanta avenues remained in place. He also asked anyone with any information surrounding the incident to contact Phoenix police's non-emergency number or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish.

Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan said the officer was in stable condition after having been shot once in the left hip with bullet fragments striking her face.

"This was an ambush on our officers," Sullivan said. "This is the reality our officers face every day when they put on this uniform."

Sullivan said his officers were committed to reducing gun violence within Phoenix, but did not offer specific strategies during the press conference. He noted that most of the people who drew guns on police officers were prohibited possessors, but did not specify whether that applied to this instance.

According to a statement from Phoenix Law Enforcement Association President Darrell Kriplean, the officer had been responding to a call about a vehicle that had crashed into a residence. The caller had reportedly said he thought the driver of the vehicle had fled the scene, possibly with a rifle.

"As the officer arrived on scene, the suspect — unbeknownst to everyone — had been waiting inside his vehicle, jumped out with a rifle, and cowardly ambushed the officer. He fired several rounds at the officer with wanton disregard for everyone in the area. The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association is in close contact with the medical team, and we are praying for the officer's quick recovery," Kriplean said in the statement.

On Twitter, Phoenix police say one officer has been taken to the hospital and the scene is still active.

"The Phoenix Officer involved in this violent and unprovoked attack is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound," a tweet read. "Doctors' initial assessment is that the injuries are non-life-threatening."

According to Phoenix police, the shooting suspect was in a vehicle with another occupant inside with him. Both ATF Special Agents and DPS officials are assisting Phoenix police in the investigation.

Manuel Garcia, 55, parked his car a few blocks away from his home by police order after coming home from breakfast. An officer walked Garcia to his home, where he has been living for about a month.

"It was a surprise for me," Garcia said about the shooting.

Garcia said the search has him homebound and is keeping him from running errands.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego tweeted about the incident, revealing the officer shot was a woman.

"This incident is a stark reminder of the dangers our officers face every day in the line of duty," the tweet said. "My heart goes out to the officer and her family as she recovers."

Additionally, multiple Roosevelt District schools have been placed on lockdown, including:

  • Cesar Chavez Leadership Academy

  • Sunland STEAM Academy

  • C.J. Jorgensen Academy of Service Learning

  • Ed and Verma Pastor Elementary School

  • Bernard Black Entrepreneurial Academy

  • John R. Davis Elementary School

  • Ignacio Conchos Elementary School

Irene Lopez Academy of the Arts is currently in shelter as well.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix police working 'critical incident' in which officer was shot