Flagstaff police officer, suspect killed in shooting

Posted: Updated:
Officer Tyler Jacob Stewart By Christina O'Haver Officer Tyler Jacob Stewart By Christina O'Haver
Officer Tyler Stewart By Christina O'Haver Officer Tyler Stewart By Christina O'Haver
Robert William Smith By Christina O'Haver Robert William Smith By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Flagstaff police said a Prescott man fatally shot an officer and then turned the gun on himself Saturday.

According to police, 28-year-old Robert William Smith fired multiple shots at Officer Tyler Jacob Stewart within close range when the two were discussing an earlier domestic violence situation.

Police said Stewart had contacted Smith's girlfriend around 11 a.m. in the 900 block of South Litzler Drive after the couple had an argument.

Smith reportedly left the area and later contacted Stewart. The two met around 1:30 p.m. at an apartment complex in the 800 block of West Clay Avenue, where Smith had been staying.

Police said the discussion about the domestic violence incident never became confrontational, but Smith reached for a gun in his pocket after Stewart asked to pat him down for weapons. Smith allegedly began firing at the officer at a range of about 2 feet.

Police said the preliminary investigation showed that Stewart did not have time to return fire, and Smith continued rapidly firing shots at the officer while he was down and wounded.

Smith then reportedly walked away from the immediate area and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Stewart was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center in critical condition but succumbed to his injuries.

Police said the 24-year-old officer had been with the department for less than a year. He graduated from Boulder Creek High School in Anthem and Concordia College in California.

"This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our officer," Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway said in a statement. "We are a very close-knit organization and know that all of the members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our officer, Tyler Stewart."

Flagstaff police are investigating with assistance from the Northern Arizona Law Enforcement multi-agency shooting team.

Flagstaff police said the only other contact they have had with Smith was a 2009 arrest for domestic violence.

Norvel Owens Mortuary will be handling funeral arrangements.

There will be a vigil outside of the Flagstaff police station and another in Anthem, both at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The community is invited to attend and bring a candle.

"It is heartbreaking to lose one of our officers," Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours said in a statement. "We collectively mourn for his family and the entire department."

A bank account has been set up on behalf of the family of Stewart's family. Donate to The Tyler Stewart Memorial, account #7764473984, at Wells Fargo Bank.