Suspect in Phoenix kidnapping, officer-involved shooting has criminal past

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The search continues for Angel Padilla, who is accused of assaulting his estranged wife in her home and kidnapping her while her children watched early Saturday.

Police are anxious to find him in part, because of his long criminal history. He spent 10 and a half years, from 2000 to May 2011, in prison on charges of second-degree murder.

Police also want to find him because of the level of violence he showed that Saturday morning, when 19 rounds from an SKS rifle ripped through a Phoenix police car. Officers say the man who pulled the trigger was Padilla.

"There were a total of 37 rounds fired at our officer," said Sgt. Steve Martos with the Phoenix Police Department. "Obviously, the number of rounds and where these rounds entered the vehicle indicates to us what this individual was trying to do."

Police say minutes after assaulting his estranged wife at her home near 67th Avenue and Buckeye Road, Padilla threw her into his vehicle and drove off. An officer allegedly saw him blow through a stop sign but seconds after he pulled over, Padilla got out of the vehicle and started shooting.

"Our officer had just enough time to get out of the way, to get out of the vehicle, radio in for help and he really did not have time to return fire because it happened so quickly," Martos said. 

The officer sunk to the ground while making that call for help, then crawled behind the trunk for safety. But he wasn't the only witness in this shootout.

"The victim, the estranged wife, was still in his Ford Ranger when the suspect began firing at the officer," Martos said.

After a shower of bullets, Padilla left the scene, but an hour later officers found his abandoned vehicle, his wife, and his weapons at 43rd Avenue and Encanto Boulevard. She was treated for non-life threatening injuries, and the officer's wounds, amazingly, were only from glass flying from the shot-out windows. Police said the damage to this car should be a warning of how dangerous Padilla is and how important it is to find him.

If you have any information on Padilla's location or have seen him in the area, you're urged to call Phoenix police or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.