Hit-and-run suspect killed in confrontation with Phoenix police

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 26 at 6:56 AM

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PHOENIX -- Police shot and killed a hit-and-run suspect during a confrontation late Saturday night.

Mauricio Herrera-Garcia, 39, pulled a handgun and aimed it officers when he was blocked in at a gas station at 35th Avenue and Camelback Road, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Department.

"Those officers approached from different directions. Commands were given," said Sgt. Thompson. "The individual disobeyed those commands and actually pointed the gun at the officers. That’s when our officers opened fire, all three of them in different directions."

The officers gave first aid, which was continued by fire department personnel, who transported Herrera-Garcia to the hospital where he later died.

The ordeal began at 8 p.m. when Herrera-Garcia was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run collision while driving a 2001 Jeep Cherokee near 7th Avenue and Broadway Road.

The driver of the other vehicle told police that the person who caused the crash pulled a gun.

"The driver actually put his hand outside the vehicle. He had a gun. He fired several shots into the air," said Sgt. Thompson.

The victim in the hit-and-run was able to get the license plate number of the Jeep Cherokee but told police that the driver fired several more gunshots while being followed.

While police were at the residence on Mariposa Street, near 35th Avenue and Camelback Road, where the vehicle was registered, they saw the suspect drive by in the Jeep Cherokee.

Officers tried to stop the vehicle near 35th Avenue and Thomas Road, but the driver would not stop.  At that point, the patrol officers let the Phoenix police helicopter take over surveillance of the vehicle.

The helicopter followed the vehicle for about 30 minutes until the driver pulled into the gas station. That is where the confrontation with SWAT officers ended with the suspect being shot and killed.

None of the officers was injured.

As in all officer involved shootings, this case is being investigated criminally by the Phoenix Police Department Homicide Unit and internally by the Professional Standards Bureau. The officers involved will be placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure following officer involved shootings. 

One of the officers is 32 years old and has been with the Phoenix Police Dept. for nine years. One is 39 years old and has been on the force for 15 years. The third is 33 years old and has eight years with the department.

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Phoenix police shoot armed hit-and-run suspect

PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix police say a hit-and-run suspect is dead after he aimed a gun at officers.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson says the incident started Saturday around 8 p.m. when the victim of a hit-and-run collision followed a Jeep Cherokee that was involved.

The victim told authorities that the jeep's driver fired several shots out the window when the victim tried to pursue him.

Using license plate information obtained by victim, officers went to 39-year-old Mauricio Herrera-Garcia's residence and spotted him driving by.

Police followed him to a convenience store at 35th Avenue and Camelback Road.

Thompson says Herrera-Garcia ignored commands to drop his weapon and aimed it at one officer. Three SWAT officers opened fire, hitting Herrera-Garcia.

He later died at a hospital.

All three officers have been placed on administrative leave.

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