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Suspect Wanted For Shooting Phoenix Cop Arrested After Standoff In Scottsdale

Scottsdale, AZ – The suspect accused of shooting a Phoenix police officer was arrested Sunday night following a standoff at a Scottsdale residence, according to police.

Nicholas Cowan, 35, was apprehended after an 80-hour manhunt that led police to conduct multiple search warrants at locations throughout the area before he was located at a home in Scottsdale on April 17, KTVK reported.

Local police and SWAT units were joined by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents in the search effort.

When they arrived at the house, they discovered the front door had been barricaded with furniture, KNXV reported.

Police negotiated with Cowan for several hours before he ultimately surrendered at approximately 7:45 p.m., according to KTVK.

He was found to be suffering from a gunshot wound that investigators believed he received during a shootout with Phoenix Police Department (PPD) officers on April 14, KTVK reported.

Once he is released from the hospital, he will be taken to jail wearing the handcuffs belonging to the officer he tried to murder, PPD Chief Jeri Williams told KTAR.

Police also arrested 33-year-old Nicole Montalbano for allegedly helping Cowan in his attempt to evade capture.

The series of events leading to the arrests began at approximately 10:15 a.m. on April 14, when a woman called police from a Marathon gas station located near Beardsley Road and Cave Creek Road to report she was afraid of a possible confrontation with her boyfriend, whom she identified as Cowan, KTVK reported.

The woman told investigators Cowan had tried to commit suicide, “committed several criminal acts,” and threatened to “shoot it out” with law enforcement officers, according to police.

Cowan pulled into the parking lot of the Marathon station just as police were arriving, KTVK reported.

When the officers began approaching him, Cowan allegedly pulled out a gun and opened fire on them from inside his vehicle, hitting a female officer, according to police.

A second officer returned fire as Cowan continued shooting, KTVK reported.

The gunman then sped off.

The second officer was not hit during the shootout.

The wounded 40-year-old officer, a 24-year veteran of the force, was rushed to HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center, where she was taken into emergency surgery, KTVK reported.

She remained in intensive care on Sunday, but was said to be in “great spirits,” KTAR reported.

Chief Williams said the wounded hero, who is married to another PPD officer, listened to the police radio feed during the standoff on Sunday.

“This is a family of public servants to our community,” Chief Williams told reporters on Thursday, according to KTVK.

“She’s a wife, she’s a mom, she’s a dedicated public servant,” the chief added, according to The Arizona Republic. “Please keep all of our officers in your thoughts and prayers.”

The incident marked the eighth time a PPD officer has been shot in the past four months.

“I’m angry, I’m tired and I’m frustrated,” Chief Williams said.

“These attacks taking place in our own backyard and across our country show a blatant disregard for human life and law enforcement,” the chief said on Sunday, according to KTVK. “Despite these attacks on our police family, our officers continue to respond to calls for service to assure the safety of our community.”

The Arizona Department of Public Safety issued a Blue Alert for Cowan at approximately 3:55 p.m. on Thursday.

Investigators located Cowan’s vehicle in the area of Greenway and Fifth Avenue at approximately 1 p.m., but he was nowhere to be found, KTVK reported.

Susan Cowan, the suspect’s aunt, said she “wasn’t in disbelief” when she heard her nephew had allegedly shot a police officer, KNXV reported.

“We fear we won’t be seeing him again,” she added.

Cowan’s criminal history stretches back to 2005, KNXV reported.

He spent much of his adult life in prison on charges including weapons offenses, aggravated assault, aggravated DUI, and resisting arrest, according to KSAZ.

Cowan’s aunt said many of his offenses involve drugs, KNXV reported.

Court records show the suspect pleaded guilty to a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute heroin in 2018, according to KSAZ.

He wrapped up an 18-month prison sentence in May of 2020, and was serving a 36-month supervised release when the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) arrested him on new charges of threatening an Arizona Department of Child Safety worker, endangering a child with drug manufacturing equipment, and manufacture and distribution of drugs.

Cowan was remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons in May of 2021, but it is unclear when he was released from prison, KSAZ reported.

The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office said Cowan currently is the subject of two other open cases.

Chief Williams said the investigation into the shooting remained “active and ongoing” on Sunday, KTAR reported.

“We’re going to continue through the process because we do know that Cowan had assistance and help,” she noted. “And at the end of the day, if you’re a victim of a crime, whether you’re a blue uniform or community member, we want to make sure that we really tie this up in a bow and make the case.”

It is unclear if any tipsters will be receiving the $35,000 reward that was being offered for information leading to Cowan’s arrest, KNXV reported.

Chief Williams did confirm that the PPD received a slew of tips from the public during the search for Cowan, at least one of which led them to the Scottsdale residence where he was ultimately found.

“We pushed out information for you to call in with tips and you called in with many, many tips,” she said during a press conference, according to KNXV. “In fact, it was a tip tonight that led us to where we are today, so thank you for being our eyes and our ears out here and for answering the call.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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