Suspect involved in fatal I-10 shoot-out identified; questions remain

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

PHOENIX -- Eastbound Interstate 10 was closed near 59th Avenue for several hours Friday after Phoenix police officers returned fire and killed an armed suspect they were pursuing.

According to Phoenix police they were on their way to a house at 2042 S. 86th Dr. to serve an order of protection.

While en route to the house, police got word that there had been a shooting at that residence.

Police said when they arrived at the home they found an Hispanic male dead. That man was later identified as Jose Mancilla, 34. Those on scene gave police a description of a man who they said left the scene in a white Mustang.

An officer responding to the incident saw the Mustang traveling north from West Van Buren Street on 83rd Avenue and followed the car until he could verify the license plate. The officer tailed the Mustang until other police arrived.

On I-10 near 59th Avenue officers caught up with the Mustang and conducted a high risk traffic stop. After stopping, police said, Gemaro Mercado, 36, left the car and came toward officers, shooting at them with a hand gun.

Four officers -- a 15-year veteran, a 5-year veteran, an 8-year veteran and a 7-year veteran -- fired back and killed Mercado, forcing the closure of a portion of the I-10 around 1 p.m.

Phoenix police said investigators found Mercado was the suspect who killed the man at 2042 S. 86th Dr.

Eastbound I-10 traffic was diverted at the 59th Avenue exit.

Traffic was backed up on both sides of the freeway for hours.

Phoenix police and Department of Public Safety officers are still investigating; investigators currently believe the incident was domestic in nature.

Police said no officers or innocent civilians were injured during the firefight.