Man shot and killed by police during alleged drug bust identified

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PHOENIX - One person is dead after an officer-involved shooting in Phoenix Wednesday afternoon.

Police said they were forced to shoot and kill a man at Van Buren and 20th streets after he tried to run them over.

Phoenix police were in the middle of an undercover drug operation when detectives tried to pull over a pickup truck near 28th Street and Thomas Road. They turned on their lights, but the driver, now identified as John Solmen, refused to stop.

Not wanting to turn it into a high-speed chase at the time, they backed off with their squad cars and instead followed the truck with a chopper and unmarked vehicles.

Solmen, 48, eventually pulled into a dead end and at least three unmarked vehicles and a squad car blocked him in.

Investigators said Solmen wasn’t ready to give up and, despite several warnings from police, he rammed two of the police vehicles then drove toward officers.

Two officers opened fire, hitting and killing Solmen.

George Oso said the suspect almost ran him over with his truck while trying to evade police. He watched the shootout unfold just a few hundred feet from where he was standing. He said officers fired at least 10 rounds.

There were two other people in the truck, a 46-year-old man and a 39-year-old woman. They were not hurt and were detained by police.

The two officers, both 10-year veterans of the force, are on paid administrative leave, which is protocol while they complete the investigation.