Police officer shot, killed during Scottsdale traffic stop

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A police officer from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Scottsdale early Saturday morning.

It happened near Chaparral and Pima roads.

The officer, 37-year-old Jair Cabrera, had been a member of the department for seven years.

"Today is a very tragic day for law enforcement and a very sad day for the men and women of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Police Department," said Salt River Police Chief Patrick Melvin.

According to the FBI, the driver of a vehicle pulled into the Chevron gas station during the traffic stop. Someone in the car then started shooting.

A bullet fired by one of the suspects went through the officer's windshield, striking him.

The officer was taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"I do not have any information relative to the wounds that he sustained; I just know that when he was transported, they were life-threatening and he has since succumbed to those injuries," said FBI Special Agent Perryn T. Collier.

It is unknown how many shots were fired but witnesses said they heard at least two.

Lonnie Dingler, a taxi driver, said he stopped at the Chevron to buy cigarettes and saw the vehicles pull into the gas station.

"As I'm paying for it, the next thing you know, we hear, 'pop pop.' We're just thinking, 'Oh my God,' " he said.

Dingler then saw three other officers arrive at the gas station.

"One of the officers goes to the passenger side of the truck, opens up the truck door, sees the officer's been shot, and the next thing you know, it's full alert and we have a ton of cops showing up," Dingler said.

He said one of the vehicle occupants approached the convenience store after the shots were fired but the clerk would not let him inside. He was taken into custody.

Mary Choudry, who was in the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot at the time, said another man was apprehended after trying to hide.

Police were searching for a third person in the area Saturday but that person was also taken into custody, according to Collier.

Salt River Police Chief Patrick Melvin said Cabrera loved and protected the community well.

Cabrera is survived by his father, mother, brother and girlfriend.

This is the first Salt River police officer killed in the line of duty.