Police mourn officer killed in shooting, suspect behind bars

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PHOENIX -- A police officer was killed in an early morning in shooting in Phoenix Wednesday, and investigators said they have the suspect in custody.

Sgt. Trent Crump identified the victim as Officer Travis Murphy, 29, a four-and-a-half year veteran of the force out of the Squaw Peak Precinct.

The suspect Danny Martinez, 30, is under arrest and behind bars at the 4th Avenue Jail where he will have his initial appearance before a judge Wednesday evening.

The shooting happened at about 1 a.m. near a gas station and convenience store in the area of 19th and Fairmount avenues, south of Indian School Road.

It all started with reports of a suspicious vehicle driving with its lights off in the neighborhood. Somebody reportedly was trying to hide a Mustang in the carport or garage of a vacant home.

Details of what led up to the shooting are still being pieced together, but the shots were fired as Officer Murphy came upon Martinez and the Mustang.

Other officers who were on the scene didn't wait for paramedics. They grabbed their wounded colleague and rushed Murphy in a patrol car to St. Joseph's Hospital where he later died.

A witness who did not want to go on-camera said she heard what sounded like a car wreck not long before the shots rang out.

Aerial video showed detectives looking at the Mustang, which seems to be central to the investigation. The car had been partially covered with a tarp. When the cover was removed, obvious front-end damage was clearly visible.

Video from the scene near the convenience store showed a trio of detectives with a gun in an evidence bag. It's not known if that gun belonged to Martinez or Officer Murphy, but police said they have recovered the weapon used in the shooting.

In the course of the incident, the residents of several nearby homes were evacuated while police searched for the suspect, who was eventually found hiding naked in a shed. That suspect reportedly was injured at some point during his capture by a police dog.

Officers were still searching the area and investigators are expected to be in the area all day Wednesday collecting evidence from the shooting.

Sgt. Crump said substantial evidence has been recovered linking Martinez to the crime, but no charges have been filed.

No other suspects are being sought, but Crump asked anyone with information to contact police.

Martinez does have a criminal history and was in this country legally.

Officer Murphy leaves behind a wife, two-year-old daughter and two-week old baby boy. The 100 Club is reaching out to the family to provide their assistance.

Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris was out of the state for a meeting in Washington, but returned and held a press conference Wednesday afternoon addressing the tragic incident.

Mayor Phil Gordon was at the hospital to offer his condolences and support. His office later issued the following statement:

"This morning, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of this fallen hero: A son, a husband, a father of two young children, a veteran police officer who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, working to keep Phoenix safe. The officer’s fellow first responders also are on my mind and in my heart.

Their courage and commitment are never in question, this morning more so than ever. Every life taken by violence is a senseless loss. Today, this loss of life is felt all across our city. The officer’s loved ones, friends and colleagues have my deepest sympathies."