Whiteriver, AZ – A White Mountain Apache police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop on Thursday night.
The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) said the incident began shortly after 7 p.m. on June 2, when the officer stopped a vehicle on East Fork Road, KTVK reported.
At some point during the encounter, a physical altercation broke out between the driver and the officer, police said.
Investigators said the suspect fatally shot the officer, then stole his patrol car as additional White Mountain Apache Police Department (WMAPD) vehicles pursued him.
The chase continued on through an extremely remote area of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation to the area of Hawley Lake, KNXV reported.
Officers ended up in a shootout with the suspect near the lake, fatally wounding him in the process.
Another officer was hit by gunfire during the encounter and was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix in unknown condition, KNXV reported.
The identities of the officer who was murdered and the officer who was wounded have not been released.
The gunman’s identity was also not immediately released.
Law enforcement officers from multiple nearby agencies flooded the area in the wake of the officer’s murder, KNXV reported.
“The Tribe is indebted to our Police Department and EMS for their prompt and courageous response, and grateful for the assistance rendered by our neighboring jurisdictions,” the White Mountain Apache Tribe said in a statement on Thursday night, according to KTVK. “Our prayers, tonight, are with the families of those officers involved, and with all of our first responders.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident, KNXV reported.
Getting an UNCONFIRMED report of a possible law enforcement incident around Hawley Lake south of Show Low on White Mountain Apache Tribal Land. There is currently an medical helicopter overhead. We're working on getting confirmation and details. #Arizona pic.twitter.com/IFCIc8xvlZ
— Dan Marries (@DanMarriesKOLD) June 3, 2022
On behalf of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and Governing Body, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office has been requested to release the following information: pic.twitter.com/aEd3hAEP5I
— Navajo County Sheriff's Office (@navajo_s) June 3, 2022
Sadly, we are following breaking news, horrible news.. a White Mountain Apache police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty.
We’re dedicating team coverage to this tragic event. pic.twitter.com/Lyr98LU7sx
— Gina Maravilla (@GinaMaravillaTV) June 3, 2022
This is a developing story and we will keep you updated. For all of our updates, follow us on Facebook and go to your news feed preferences under your settings, then select that you want to see more of The Police Tribune’s posts in your news feed. Otherwise, Facebook may not show you updates.