MCSO: Suspect fatally shot after threatening deputy with knife

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A Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman said a possible burglary suspect threatened a deputy with a knife before being shot Thursday morning. By Jennifer Thomas A Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman said a possible burglary suspect threatened a deputy with a knife before being shot Thursday morning. By Jennifer Thomas

GUADALUPE, Ariz. -- A Maricopa County sheriff's deputy shot a burglary suspect who allegedly threatened him with a knife.

The shooting happened Thursday morning near Baseline Road and Hardy Drive in Tempe.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was called to assist Tempe police in looking for two people they believed were involved in a burglary attempt.

According to MCSO spokesman Jeff Sprong, a deputy searching a wash area encountered a man who had a knife.

Sprong said the man threatened the deputy with the knife and the deputy shot him.

The suspect, identified as Joel Smith, 19, was taken to Maricopa County Medical Center in Phoenix where he was pronounced dead.

"This deputy obviously felt his life and maybe potentially other officers' lives were in danger so he decided to end the threat, so to speak," Sprong said.

The deputy was not injured.

The second suspect was arrested without incident.

The deputy's name has not been released, but Sprong said he is a seasoned veteran with MCSO.