Suspect armed with knife shot and killed by officer

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Tempe police officer shot and killed a man who was attacking another officer with a knife Tuesday morning.

It happened just before 7 a.m. in the area of Rural Road and Southern Avenue in Tempe.

Police said a person who called 911 said the suspect was walking in the street with a knife and "exhibiting erratic behavior." Officers later learned that he crashed his vehicle into a parked vehicle and was walking around, kicking the vehicle and cursing, police said.

The first officer to arrive on the scene got into a struggle with the suspect, according to Sgt. Josie Montenegro of the Tempe Police Department.

"During that struggle, the suspect was able to retrieve a knife and began to stab the first officer," she explained.

Montenegro said the first officer was on the ground with the suspect on top of him when the second officer saw the attack.

 A second officer shot the suspect to stop that attack, he said.

[WATCH: Sgt. Josie Montenegro explains what happened]

Our Gibby Parra arrived on the scene as the injured police officer was being loaded into an ambulance. The officer was conscious and talking on the phone. He appeared to have a bandage on his right forearm. The Tempe Police Department tweeted that the officer suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

[SLIDESHOW: From the scene]

Aerial video from the Penguin Air and Plumbing News Chopper showed paramedics working on another patient. That patient -- the suspect, according to the Tempe Police Department -- was transported, as well. Montenegro said that suspect later died at the hospital.

No identities have been released.

The suspect was 25 years old and from Phoenix, Montenegro said.

The officer who was injured has more than 19 years of service with the Tempe Police Department, according to Montenegro. He is said to be in stable condition.

The second officer who shot the suspect has been with the Tempe Police Department for nearly 18 years and has a total of 25 years of law enforcement experience.

Montenegro said the second officer tried to turn on his body camera while taking out his gun but later learned he was unsuccessful. He didn't say whether the officer who was stabbed was able to turn on his body camera.

Robert Dishman, who lives a couple of houses down from where all of this happened, heard the gunshots and saw the suspect "wielding" what he described as a machete. He believes the suspect cut the officer.

Montenegro confirmed that the officer had been stabbed and said the blade of the knife, which was still at the scene, was 6 to 8 inches long. She did not provide any information about either of the officers.

Dishman also told us a bit about the crash that preceded the shooting.

"The airbags were deployed so he must have been going like 30, 40 miles an hour," Dishman said. "The weird part about it is that the car was parked along the street and the guy hit him T-bone style."

It's not clear if the suspect intentionally hit that specific vehicle.

Steve Cohn, another area resident, was watching TV when he heard the crash.

"It was one guy that had crashed into a couple of parked cars so it looked like a multi-car crash," he said. "This was right across the street from me."

He, too, said that the airbags had deployed. Cohn, along with some of his neighbors, went outside and tried to help the man who had crashed. He said the man swore at him. But that's not all the suspect did.

"Like as he walked past me, he spit towards me and spit on my shirt," Cohn said. "I was like, 'All right, you know, I assume this guy was in bad shape -- like drunk or something.'"

Cohn said he went back inside and called the police.

"He looked pretty mad, right? And seemed very coherent," Dishman said of the suspect. "It didn't seem like the crazy drug-fueled rage type thing," Dishman said. "It was almost like he was hurting."

Cohn watched the situation unfold.

"It almost looked like a boxing fight," he said of the scuffle between the suspect and the officer. He went on to describe seeing the suspect with a knife and then hearing several shots and seeing the suspect go down.

[WATCH: Witness describes officer-involved shooting in Tempe]

Cohn said he was not sure who was shooting at first.

"It all happened really fast," he said. "I heard like one shot and then like the action kind of stopped. And then I heard a couple more shots."

He said the injured officer pulled himself away from the suspect. 

"I think I heard one more shot and the guy kind of stopped and was basically down," Cohn explained.

He said after "several seconds' pause," the suspect looked like he "started to get back up and push himself up again."

"And then there were two more shots after that," he recalled.

The second officer fired about six shots, by Cohn's count.

"It's definitely debatable whether or not those last two shots were excessive, in my opinion," Cohn said, going on to explain that the suspect might have been reaching for the knife as he tried to get up. "I just can't believe that, you know, what we see on TV all around the country actually happened right in front of my house."

While police have not determined what led up to the crash, stabbing and subsequent shooting, Dishman has a theory.

"There's either drugs involved or a woman involved. You can quote me on that," he said.

This is the second officer-involved shooting in the Valley in less than 24 hours.

Monday evening, a Phoenix police officer shot and killed a woman considered a suspect in a homicide.

[READ MORE: Officer shoots and kills female homicide suspect in downtown Phoenix]

There have been 16 officer-involved shooting in the Valley this year and a total of 24 statewide.

[RELATED: Officer-involved shootings in 2017]

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