Officer-involved shooting leaves 2 suspects in critical condition

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Two men are in critical condition after an officer-involved shooting at an underage house party.

Beer bottles and cans littered the street near 36th Avenue and Lynwood Street in Phoenix.

Police say just after midnight Saturday, two men - one who lived inside the home where the party was held - started arguing in the front yard.

Also present, several officers at and around the house, some in plain clothes, who were part of a targeted enforcement squad working to monitor the party.

Sgt. Steve Martos with the Phoenix Police Department says the fight escalated, and the men pulled out handguns and started shooting at each other, possibly over a $2 cover charge to get into the party.

One suspect, a 19-year-old Hispanic male, took off running down the street, but not before shooting at an undercover officer and a civilian assistant who was with him inside an unmarked car.

"Fearing for their life, that sergeant fired upon that second suspect as he was seated in the vehicle," Martos said.

The suspect took off, but the officer chased him and a gun fight ensued.

The suspect was shot multiple times.

Meanwhile, Martos says the resident of the home, a 20-year-old Hispanic man, started firing at people nearby.

"That's when officers, again in plain clothes capacity, in front of this house shot at this suspect obviously in protection of a third party," Martos said. "That suspect went down in the driveway."

Both suspects were transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

Not one of the officers was hurt.

Police say they've seen an increase of similar kinds of violence in the last few years -- large groups of people gathered in a home, some drinking underage, some armed with deadly weapons, creating a dangerous combination.

That's why the special enforcement squad was created. Officers take tips and emergency calls and use the information to monitor large house parties for underage drinking and fights before they get out of control.

Police say approximately 75 people were questioned after the party was broken up.

Charges against the two hospitalized suspects, including aggravated assault, are pending.