Suspect dead after scuffle with police

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PHOENIX -- A suspect is dead after getting into a fight with two Phoenix police officers early Friday morning, and at this point, investigators have no idea why.

According Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson, the two officers were on a routine patrol when it happened.

At about 2:30 a.m., they pulled into a convenience store parking lot near 27th and Northern avenues and spotted a car illegally parked in a handicapped space. One of the officers went to question the man who was sitting in the car, Thompson said.

The man initially seemed to be cooperating, handing over his license and registration. When the officer went back to his patrol vehicle, however, the man jumped out of the car and took off running.

One officer chased him on foot while the other stayed in the patrol vehicle. The officers caught up with him in an alley a few hundred yards away, but, according to Thompson, he put up a fight. After a struggle, the officers were able to take the man into custody. After they did so, they discovered he was not breathing.

The 42-year-old man was rushed to a local hospital where he died.

"Of course, we're investigating to find out more about the circumstances surrounding this incident," Thompson said.

Investigators do not yet know how the man died, nor do they know why he tried to run from and fight with the officers.

"Hopefully as this investigation continues, we'll be able to have more details," Thompson said.

As for the car that was parked in the handicapped zone, Thompson said it does not appear to be stolen, but it does not belong to the man, either.

"Even more than that, it was kind of in an awkward position in the handicap, which may lead one to believe that perhaps there was something more to this than meets the eye," Thompson said. "Certainly, it's abnormal behavior to take off running from the police officers …."

Detectives have not released any information about the man.