GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) — A suspect in a stolen car struck and killed one police officer and critically injured another during a wild chase that temporarily shut down a municipal airport in one Phoenix suburb before ending at a car dealership in another, authorities said Friday.
The chase late Thursday night resulted in the death of Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar and left a Gilbert police officer hospitalized in critical condition with a severe head injury, their departments said.
“Chris was struck and killed by a violent felon in a stolen vehicle following a multi-agency shooting and pursuit,” Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said.
The injured Gilbert officer's identity wasn't released.
The suspect stole a vehicle and tried to drive away from a Ford dealership as four state troopers and three Pinal County sheriff's deputies fired at him, Gilbert police said in a statement.
The suspect, whose identity was not released, was taken into custody and transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, Gilbert police said. Details on his injuries weren't released.
Along with the two officers struck by the vehicle driven by the fleeing suspect, a dealership janitor was struck and left with minor injuries and three troopers also had minor injuries, Gilbert police said. It wasn't clear how the troopers were injured.
Gilbert police and Pinal Sheriff Mark Lamb said the pursuit began at about 10 p.m. Thursday night when a sheriff's deputy tried to pull over a speeding vehicle and then reported he'd been shot at.
The pursuit went into Chandler in metro Phoenix where the suspect got onto a freeway before driving into the municipal airport and crashing through a gate, causing the airport to shut down temporarily, Gilbert police said.
The suspect then got back on the freeway and drove the wrong way, going into Gilbert where he crashed the vehicle near a ramp and then ran into the SanTan Motorplex, police said. He then stole a vehicle from the Ford dealership there, striking the officers and employee as the suspect tried to drive away shortly before midnight, Gilbert police said.
Duggan said the slain officer had touched many lives during his 18 years on the force.
“I just ask that you keep Chris's family in your thoughts and prayers, and take a moment and be mindful of the brave men and women who are out there daily helping keep our communities safe,” the chief said.