A Phoenix police officer and a Sheriff’s posse member were shot Tuesday during a robbery of a couple by six suspects. The suspects approached the couple with a gun around 2:00 pm in front of the IHOP at 44th and Oak Streets.
The alleged robbers escaped in a maroon Chevrolet Impala, and a police officer followed. The maroon car ran a stoplight and ran into a white pickup truck at 56th Street and Thomas Road. The truck driver got out and attempted to assist the officer. Both the truck driver and the Phoenix police officer were shot. The driver who tried to help is 63 years old, and has been a posse volunteer member for a number of years. Those who saw the shooting said that three to four gunshots were heard.
The police officer was shot one time in the abdomen. He underwent surgery and is in critical condition. The posse member has also been listed as critical. Witnesses said that one of the suspects grabbed the officer’s gun and shot both the officer and posse member.
After the shooting incident, two black men were seen fleeing into a neighborhood southeast of the intersection, and were chased by police officers. One of the suspects ran through a home in the neighborhood and was caught in the back yard. The home owner was unharmed. Both of these men were captured in two different locations. The police authorities are looking for two other black men and two black women who are allegedly involved in the robbery.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference and confirmed that the man who attempted to assist during the incident is a war veteran and longtime member of his volunteer posse.
“I looked back and I saw him. The police officer was lying on the ground and he took one shot at the cop,” said Charles Parke who watched the scene unfold. Another witness, Don King, was eating at a restaurant with his wife and saw the whole scene.
He said he saw the accident between the maroon car and the white truck and then heard shots fired. King said that the officer was having a hard time taking the shooting suspect and that another man joined the officer and appeared to try to help with the arrest. King said he heard a shot and saw the officer go down. He said he heard another shot and the other man fell on the road. Many of the restaurant customers where King ate called 911 to report the incident.
A police spokesman could not reveal the officer’s name, however, he told reporters that he was a seven-year veteran. He had a ride-along partner who did not receive any injuries during the event. Both the police officer and the posse member were taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborne Medical Center.
Mayor Greg Stanton visited both men at Osborne Medical Center. He was concerned and stated that these men take great risks everyday, and said that, “we owe [them] a great debt of gratitude.”
Authorities have told those who live in the adjacent neighborhoods to keep their homes locked up, and to call 911 if they are concerned about trespassers or possible intruders. Any witnesses should call the police to report their story.
Today, a Phoenix police officer and posse member were shot and are being treated for their injuries.
By Lisa M Pickering