Phoenix, AZ – Three Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers were wounded in a gunfight with an armed suspect during rush-hour traffic on the interstate on Monday evening (video below).
The incident began in Mesa at approximately 4 p.m., when officers received a report of a suspicious person in a white truck, The Arizona Republic reported.
A witness told police that the suspect may have been armed.
“We’ll look into the details of the call and why it was called in as suspicious, how he brandished that weapon,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Vince Lewis said, according to KTVK.
When Mesa police arrived at the scene, the suspect sped away in the white truck, leading officers on a pursuit down Interstate 10.
“A pursuit was declared and then marked units did back off from that pursuit while Mesa air continued to follow,” Sgt. Lewis explained.
Arizona DPS troopers also responded to the area as the chase continued onto Interstate 17, The Arizona Republic reported.
As the suspect approached 7th Street at approximately 5 p.m., a DPS unit initiated a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver, and spun the suspect’s vehicle 180 degrees, KTVK aerial footage showed.
That’s when the suspect opened fire on the officers, KPNX reported.
Five Mesa police officers and three DPS troopers fired their weapons during the gunfight, Sgt. Lewis told reporters.
Video footage showed clouds of glass shards flying into the air from the gunshots as officers exchanged fire with the gunman from within their vehicles.
The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene, KPNX reported.
All three of the troopers were injured by broken glass during the exchange of gunfire, and two were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.
They have since been released from the hospital. None of the Mesa police officers were injured during the altercation.
Phoenix Police Department will handle the criminal investigation, and DPS and Mesa police will conduct internal investigations into the incident.
“What we know with officer-involved shootings, they happen very quickly,” Sgt. Lewis said, according to KTVK. “Officers do their best to protect life around them and to themselves and taking into account those involved in the engagement as far as timing goes. We’ll look at that. It will be part of the investigation.”
In a Twitter post, Mesa Police Association President Nate Gafvert said the gunman was “an extremely violent suspect who showed absolutely zero regard for innocent civilians.”
“Thankfully no officers, Highway Patrol Troopers or civilians were hit in the exchange of gunfire,” Gafvert said.
Interstate 17 remained closed to traffic in both directions for most of Monday.
You can watch aerial footage of the officers’ encounter with the armed suspect in the video below: