Phoenix police officer injured, suspect dead in shooting

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Salvador Acevedo By Jennifer Thomas Salvador Acevedo By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police said a suspect shot and killed himself Thursday night after shooting an officer in the leg.

It happened while a squad of officers was working a gang enforcement program near 34th Avenue and Roosevelt Street in the Maryvale area.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said two detectives observed an individual with a hooded sweatshirt and dark clothing riding a bike through a residential neighborhood at about 9 p.m. The officers wanted to check what he was doing, but the man fled.

Crump said the officers attempted to stop him and were exiting their vehicle when the suspect went behind the car and started shooting at the officers, striking Detective Brian Cuthbertson. The officers took cover and the suspect ran into a neighborhood.

Crump said there was no exchange of gunfire.

"I guess that you can really call running to the back of that vehicle and shooting at them as they get out an ambush shooting," he said. "I don't think that they ever had an opportunity to have a shot or take a shot at him."

There was a short manhunt and when officers caught up with the suspect, he shot himself in the head, according to police. He has been identified as Salvador Acevedo, 31.

Cuthbertson, 39, suffered a single-gunshot wound behind his left knee, according to Chief Daniel Garcia. He did need surgery and is being treated at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Garcia said Cuthbertson is recovering and in "very good spirits."

His brother is also a Phoenix police officer who was just coming on duty when the shooting occurred.

"Unfortunately, our officer's brother also works on the department and was working tonight and heard this call come out this evening so he is at the hospital with him, as well," Crump said after the shooting.

Cuthbertson is a detective with the violent crimes bureau's gang enforcement unit and has been with the Phoenix Police Department for 10 years. He is married with three children.

Acevedo was released from the Arizona Department of Corrections in 2013 and was on community supervision. In 2005, he was convicted of a drive-by shooting, aggravated assault, weapons violations and a dangerous drug offense. Crump said Acevedo is a violent felony offender and has a history of gang involvement.

"This just goes to prove that what we're facing in our city right now in relation to violent crimes is gangs, guns and drugs," Garcia said. "This suspect is an example of what we're facing at this point."