Wounded Phoenix police officer out of surgery, suspect's identity released

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by Marcy McMacken, Catherine Holland and Mike Gertzman

Video report by Crystal Cruz

Posted on January 7, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 10 at 12:12 PM

Map: 21st Ave. & Georgia

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PHOENIX -- A police officer who was shot six times Sunday night is out of surgery and in recovery. The surgery went as expected but the officer has a long recovery in front of him, according to a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Dept.

The shooting occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday in the 2100 block of West Georgia Avenue, which is along 21st Avenue between Camelback and Bethany Home roads.

According to Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department, Officer Peter (Pete) Bennett noticed something suspicious about a man who was riding a bicycle in the area. The man was wearing dark clothes and had a backpack. There had been several burglaries in the neighborhood so officers were keeping an extra close eye on the area.

That officer stopped the man. During the stop the suspect got off his bike and began to remove his backpack against the officer’s directions. He then fled on foot eastbound on Georgia Avenue and Officer Bennett initiated a foot pursuit.

The suspect fell to the ground in the vicinity of 2100 West Georgia Ave. where Officer Bennett approached him. While on the ground the suspect reached into his clothing and pulled out a handgun. The suspect began to fire multiple shots at Officer Bennett, who then discharged several rounds at the suspect. Officer Bennett and the suspect were both wounded during the exchange of gunfire.

Bennett, 36, is a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department.

Crump said Officer Bennett was actually shot six times.

One bullet entered through his jaw and exited through the back of his neck. A second entered in the gut/hip area and lodged in his back. Doctors believe a third bullet grazed the officer's arm.

In addition, the officer took three bullets in the vest. Any one of those could have been a kill shot, but the vest did exactly what it was supposed to.

Surgeons were expected to wire the officer's jaw shut so the damage caused by the bullet can heal. They plan to leave the bullet in his back in place.

Suspect search

After the shooting, the suspect ran north to Vermont Ave. where he entered a residential backyard.

Within minutes of the shooting, police converged on the neighborhood, set up a large perimeter and launched a search, including checking cars as they left the area. A Phoenix Police helicopter lent air support to that search.

The suspect was later found by a canine unit and other officers hiding in shed. Police suspect he is the man on the bicycle who shot the officer. The suspect refused the commands of the arrest team and consequently sustained injuries from the canine while being taken into custody.

Officers also found there was a break-in at a nearby house. Investigators said it's possible that the man on the bicycle is the one who broke into that home, which might be the incident that led up to the shooting at about 9 p.m. Sunday.

The suspect remained combative and uncooperative and was transported to a local hospital. The suspect had sustained gunshot wounds to both hands as well as the injuries from the canine.

The suspect has been indentified as Brandon McCabe, 28. He was in prison from March 2007 until Feb. 2012 for trafficking in stolen property and burglary. As a convicted felon, it is against the law for him to have a gun.

McCabe will faces charges of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and weapons violations.

Investigators were on scene all night and into the morning, working to piece together the events leading up to the shooting.

"There were different locations where we found a weapon. It appears the suspect may have broken into a house at another location. We've got a location where we found him in a shed hidden in a backyard. So there are number of places inside but we are very comfortable at this point that we have the suspect in custody," said Sgt. Crump.

Detectives were hoping to wrap up the on-scene portion of their investigation by 8:30 a.m.

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