Police officer killed in west Phoenix
by Jim Cross/KTAR (May 26th, 2010 @ 11:20am)
PHOENIX -- A Phoenix police officer who became a father for the second time two weeks ago was gunned down while looking for a suspicious car Wednesday morning.
The officer's name was not released.
But, Mark Spencer, head of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, spoke of his family.
"His wife is devastated," Spencer said. "He has two very young children, a newborn is involved in that. So that just aggravates the fact that it's a bad day."
Sgt. Trent Crump said the shooting happened about 1 a.m. in the area of 19th Avenue and Indian School Road.
The wounded officer was rushed in a police cruiser to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said he worked out of the Squaw Peak Precinct in central Phoenix.
Mayor Phil Gordon said the dead officer "made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, working to keep Phoenix safe."
Gordon added, "Every life taken by violence is a senseless loss. Today, this loss of life is felt all across our city. The officer's loved ones, friends and colleagues have my deepest sympathies."
The suspect was found hiding in a shed and was shot with a rubber bullet, Crump said. He was not seriously injured.
"We believe there's just one suspect at this point, we don't know if more," Crump said. "We do believe there may be an earlier `shots fired' call that's involved in this, as well. We're looking into that information."
Crump said officers initially tried to stop a car near 35th Avenue and Indian School that was believed to be connected with a "shots fired" call. The car took off and was found backed into a carport near 19th Avenue and Indian School, which was where the officer was shot.
"We do not know how many shots were fired or whether the officer returned fire," said Crump.
Richard Rodriguez lives just feet away from where the officer was shot and said he saw the suspect trying to hide a car in the carport.
"He saw the lights of the cops coming, so he just left it and went around the corner," said Rodriguez.
He said he heard gunshots, then police banged on his door and said he had to evacuate his home.
"I've got two small ones right here, with gunfire right at the door," said Rodriguez. He said the experience was "scary."
Rodriguez said he did not see the actual shooting.
Crump said the investigation would take some time.
"We have to determine if this stuff is all related, if this car came from that same thing or if these officers just saw a speeding or suspicious vehicle with its lights out. Remember, we have some officers who are shaken up out here this morning, that were part of this. We have not interviewed them yet, so we don't have those details."
Police Chief Jack Harris was notified while in Washington, D.C., to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss Arizona's immigration law. Crump said Harris was returning to Phoenix immediately.
Several people were evacuated from homes in the area of the shooting. The southbound lanes of 19th Avenue were closed just south of Indian School and police advised motorists to avoid the area because of the investigation.
Prayers go out to officer Murphy's family and friends.