DPS officer shot in arm, leg and back

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by Marcy McMacken

Video report by Jaime Cerreta

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 9:37 AM

PAYSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who was shot during a traffic stop over the weekend is said to be doing well and is in good spirits.

The incident happened after 10 p.m. Saturday just south of Payson when Officer Seth Meeske stopped a white passenger car driven by 22-year-old Cody Archuleta of Tempe.

According to a DPS spokesman, when Meeske approached the right side of the car, Archuleta shot him three times through the passenger window. One shot went through Meeske’s forearm, another shot hit Meeske in the left leg and the third shot hit the back of Meeske’s vest.

After being shot, Meeske drove himself to a local hospital in Payson and was then airlifted to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix.

DPS Highway Patrol Officer Robert Derango, on his very first day as a solo patrol officer, heard the initial call for help from Meeske and saw Archuleta speed through a red light in downtown Payson. Officer Derango immediately began to pursue Archuleta, reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Officers from the Payson Police Department and a deputy from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office joined the pursuit. After 40 miles, Archuleta drove off the road and into a ditch near milepost 289. Archuleta shot at officers after getting out of his car and law enforcement officers returned fire.

Archuleta was found with what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Officers gave Archuleta first aid and a Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter landed to help. A DPS officer/medic pronounced Archuleta dead at the scene.

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