PHOENIX – One suspect is dead, another is wounded, four are in custody and one more might be on the loose after a gun battle that happened when police interrupted a home invasion in progress early Wednesday.
It all started at about 3 a.m. When officers arrived on the scene in the area of Indian School Road and 91st Avenue in West Phoenix, they encountered several heavily armed suspects walking out of a home.
According to Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department, the man who was leading the group was armed with a rifle.
“When that rifle was leveled at our officer and a shot came from that group of individuals who came out, our officers returned fire,” Crump said.
While no officers were injured in the gun battle, one of the suspects, a 21-year-old male, was killed. A second suspect, Michael Trevino, 29, was shot several times. He was taken to a local hospital where he reportedly is in stable condition.
After an exhaustive search of the neighborhood, officers eventually took four more suspects into custody. Samuel Stewart, 25, Daniel Perez, 22, Antonio Alvez, 22, and Jaime Blanchet, 21 are all facing charges.
Some of those suspects were hiding in various locations, including garbage cans and neighbors’ backyards.
Indian School Road was closed for hours between 91st and 87th avenues. Officers suspended their search shortly before 8 a.m.
“There could be one additional outstanding [suspect] who left in a dark-colored vehicle,” Crump said.
Investigators are following up on that.
Crump said officers have recovered seven or eight weapons so far. A man, a woman and a 7-year-old child were inside the home when the group of men broke in, reportedly identifying themselves as police.
“We believe that was to get the family to come out into the open, which they did,” Crump said.
The man was pistol whipped and stabbed as he lay on the ground. The woman and the little girl were in another bedroom, using a cell phone to call police.
“Their information is what got us there while this was in progress,” Crump said.
The suspects ultimately found the woman and took the cell phone away. Neither she nor the child was physically harmed.
Crump said one of the officers who responded to the call was armed with a rifle, just like at least one of the suspects.
“We don’t want to face this type of fire power,” Crump said. “Hopefully, at least in this case, we’re trying to match it. Hopefully, that’s part of the reason we did not have any officers injured this morning.”
Cash, dark clothing, gloves and drug packaged for sale were found in the surrounding area.
Investigators have not said if this house and family were targeted or if this was a random incident. They are not sure of the relationship, if any, between the victims and the suspects.
One suspect has admitted to his involvement and is cooperating with investigators.