CHANDLER - One Chandler police officer is dead and another remains hospitalized after a gun battle in Phoenix Wednesday night.
Two suspects are also dead and another six are under arrest. Police tell 3TV they do not believe the suspects knew the undercover officers were actually police officers so they tried to scam them out of the money and the drugs. It is called a “rip.” That is when police say things went horribly wrong.
The house near south 23rd Avenue and Vineyard roads is filled with investigators and is riddled with bullet holes.
Neighbors say they heard multiple gunshots. One neighbor Marissa Wingate spoke to says, “It was more like a pop pop pop. It was at least two sets, after the gunshots about a minute later, the SWAT team showed up and I didn't hear any gunfire from them.”
Inside the home were three undercover Chandler police officers doing a marijuana investigation.
Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler explains, “They were following protocol. They were doing things the way we always do things. During this operation, shots were fired and three of our officers were struck by gunfire."
When the gunfire rang out the SWAT team rushed to try to save their fellow officers.
The neighbor explains, “They just ran into the home. I'm sure they tried to secure it. We heard big booms like within the home, either they were knocking down doors or throwing tear gas."
Officer Carlos Ledesma, 34, was killed and two other officers were injured and transported to St. Joseph's Hospital. One officer has been released from the hospital and the other is listed in critical but stable condition. Their names have not been released.
Two of the eight suspects were killed, one of them as he was driving away. One of the deceased was identified as Markiese Royalty, 26.
The other suspects have been identified as Thandika Singleton, 38, Jerry Cockhearn, 25, John Webber, 37, Eldridge Gittens, 34, and Doarnell Jackson, 35.
They have been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault and other charges including burglary and possession of marijuana for sale.
The suspects are on a $3 million cash bond. They will be in court on for a status hearing on Aug. 5.
The sixth suspect remains hospitalized and has not been charged.
Neighbors say random people had been coming and going from the home. “We knew something was going down starting on Monday or Tuesday and unfortunately it escalated where an officer died and we feel horrible for that family."
Sgt. Steve Martos, with Phoenix police, says, “We've lost a member of our family and the Phoenix Police Department is determined and dedicated to bringing those responsible to justice."
Police say the officers were not wearing bulletproof vests because they were undercover.