GLENDALE, Ariz. - A 28-year-old man who was shot and killed by police officers Tuesday morning was the son of a Glendale police sergeant.
Officers Eric Hardt and Kory Rafferty made a traffic stop on Michael Palomino Jr. after he ran a stop sign while riding his bike near 53rd Avenue and Glenn Drive.
"During that traffic stop, one suspect fled on foot and a short pursuit ensued," Officer Gerald Sydnor said. "Officers made contact with the suspect and a physical altercation took place."
Police say that's when Palomino pulled out a gun and pointed it at Hardt. Rafferty fired his service weapon multiple times, killing Palomino.
Hours later officers realized the suspect was the son of one of their own.
"It's very unusual and it's very unfortunate," Sydnor said.
Sgt. Mike Palomino Sr. has served 18 years with the Glendale Police Department, but friends of his son say the two became estranged years ago after the son got invovled with the wrong crowd.
The younger Palomino has a criminal rap sheet that includes prison time served for armed robbery. He was on probation at the time of the shooting.
Friends of Palomino created a memorial Wednesday at the site where he was killed.
Rafferty and Hardt have been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation of the incident.
Hardt , a seven-year veteran of the department, suffered non life-threatening injuries. Rafferty, a five-year veteran, was not injured.
Sgt. Palomino was taking time off to cope with the tragedy, according to department officials.
"He knows what the other officers are going through as well, we have an idea of what he's going through and we're going to support him to the fullest," Syndor said.
The Glendale Law Enforcement Association released a statement saying: "Glendale officers have been extremely affected by the shooting that took place yesterday morning...It is difficult for officers to be prepared emotionally after a deadly altercation, let alone find out a suspect is related to a well-respected police officer in our department. Our department is truly a family. The Glendale Law Enforcement Association officers are reaching out to the officers, their families and especially the Palomino family, who have all suffered from a stressful and traumatic experience.”
Hardt and Rafferty are part of the department's Neighborhood Response Unit, a proactive squad tasked with cracking down on crime in communities.
Residents who live near the scene of the shooting are happy to hear the officers involved are both OK.
"If the suspect ran and had a gun I can't say he deserved what he got, but they have to defend themselves," Bradford Lentzkow said.