Glendale PD: Suspect dead after officer-involved shooting



Posted on February 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 10 at 9:56 AM

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GLENDALE, Ariz. – The suspect in an officer-involved shooting in Glendale Thursday morning has died, according to police.

The 43-year-old man was pronounced dead at a local hospital, where he was transported with life-threatening injuries earlier in the day, Glendale police said.

The shooting occurred at approximately 10 a.m. in the parking lot of a shopping center at Thunderbird Road and 59th Avenue.

The Glendale Police Department's Wanted Fugitive Task Force, which includes two U.S. marshals, was attempting to contact the man, who was wanted on a felony warrant.

Police have not disclosed details about the warrant, but said the suspect has been under investigation by the department's fraud and forgery detectives for a separate case.

"This was a planned operation," said Glendale police spokeswoman Officer Tracey Breeden.

The operation took an unexpected turn when the suspect allegedly tried to escape arrest.

The man's blue pickup truck was boxed in by undercover law enforcement cars in the parking lot. Breeden said he then started ramming vehicles in an attempt to get away.

Breeden said there was a "perceived threat" and officers opened fire.

Roger Pippins and his girlfriend witnessed the shooting, and he recorded the sound of gunfire on his cell phone.

He said he heard a barrage of gunfire and saw smoke pouring from the suspect's truck as he apparently tried to accelerate.

"At one point in time, you hear them say, 'Target still moving, target still moving,' " Pippins recalled. "That's when you see in the video the car will start up again, burn out, and then that's it."

Pippins said he had also seen the truck move forward and reverse, striking a law enforcement vehicle.

Pippins said the task force members "did an awesome job" in handling the situation, but he wondered why they chose to make the arrest in a busy shopping center.

"If you let them flee, there's a chance they're going to get away and there's a chance they may harm somebody in fleeing," Breeden said. "You have to take that into consideration."

Breeden explained that the area of the parking lot where the shooting occurred was not very busy at the time. Some civilian cars were parked nearby, but no bystanders were injured, she said.

Officers were also unharmed.

As of Thursday afternoon, Glendale police determined only one of its detectives fired a weapon. However, police said the actual number of shooters cannot be confirmed until the U.S. marshals who were involved are interviewed by detectives Monday.

The Glendale police detective will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.

Police have not said how many shots were fired, but 15 bullet holes were counted on the pickup truck's windshield.

Witnesses said it was difficult to count how many shots they heard because so many were fired in rapid succession.

"I was just getting done getting my hair cut and I heard a pop, pop, pop and then a short break and then another pop, pop, pop, and I told the lady we have to get out of here I think there's a shooting going on," a woman said.

The name of the suspect has not been released.

The investigation is ongoing.