Quartzsite, AZ – A Quartzsite police officer was shot when a gunman opened fire on law enforcement officers responding to a double arson.
The incident began at 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday, when the Quartzsite Police Department was notified that two residences had been set on fire on North Washington Street, KTVK reported.
A victim from one of the homes told police that the fires were set intentionally, and knew who the suspect was. The victim also provided a description of the arsonist’s vehicle, Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Kameron Lee said.
At approximately 12:39 a.m. Wednesday morning, Quartzsite police and two DPS troopers spotted the unnamed suspect near a Burger King restaurant.
The gunman opened fire, hitting Quartzsite Officer Keynan Weltha in the leg, the Desert Messenger reported on their Facebook page.
One trooper fired back, while the other dragged the injured officer to safety, and used a tourniquet to stop his bleeding, the Desert Messenger reported.
Officer Weltha was quickly rushed to the Lake Havasu Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.
The gunman fled on foot to a nearby area where he “previously set up a strategic advantage of cover, utilizing a block wall and his vehicle for protection,” the DPS said, according to KNXV.
The suspect had also stockpiled “multiple weapons” in the hideout, to include rifles, ammunition, and a handgun, Trooper Lee told KTVK.
The troopers attempted to negotiate with the gunman, but were unsuccessful. The suspect was ultimately shot, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to ParkerLive.com, officers from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, the Colorado River Indian Tribes Police, the Parker Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies also assisted in the search.
Officer Weltha was expected to survive his injuries, ParkerLive.com reported.
The DPS investigation into the incident is ongoing, and no other details were immediately available KTVK reported.