Murder suspect involved in shootout on I-10 not expected to survive

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The suspect, Sladjan Petkovic, was arrested in 2015 for assault. This is booking photo from that arrest. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) The suspect, Sladjan Petkovic, was arrested in 2015 for assault. This is booking photo from that arrest. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead talked about the gun battle Wednesday, saying it’s a sobering reminder of what law-enforcement officers face. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead talked about the gun battle Wednesday, saying it’s a sobering reminder of what law-enforcement officers face. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The murder suspect investigators say got into a shootout with law enforcement at a rest stop along Interstate 10 reportedly is on life support and not expected to survive.

Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead talked about the gun battle Wednesday, saying it’s a sobering reminder of what law-enforcement officers throughout the state – and country – face on a daily basis.

“This is the worst possible day for any law enforcement officer, to be in a fight for their life with somebody who had already been known to have killed somebody in another part of the state,” Milstead said.

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: DPS news conference about recent shootings]

According to DPS, this all started Monday evening when Sladjan Petkovic, 36, shot and killed his neighbor, 45-year-old Steven Arvallo, in southwest Phoenix. Milstead said the two had been involved in an "ongoing neighbor dispute" and that an argument preceded the shooting.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Phoenix PD: Man shot, killed by suspect after ongoing dispute]

Arvallo was an investigator with the Department of Corrections.

Petkovic left the scene in a gray Jeep Cherokee. The Phoenix Police Department put out a statewide alert asking law enforcement agencies to watch for that vehicle.

Hours later -- early Tuesday morning -- a DPS trooper spotted that Jeep at a rest stop along I-10 near milepost 60 west of Tonopah. Milstead said Petkovic was heavily armed and opened fire as soon as the trooper started to approach him.

“The suspect had two handguns and a rifle – an automatic rifle,” Milstead said. “This gunfight goes on for about five minutes before the first backup arrives. … This firefight continues for about 20-30 minutes. About 300 rounds of ammo were expended during the firefight. No officers were injured.”

Petkovic, however, was critically wounded.

[READ MORE: DPS: Suspect in hospital after exchanging gunfire with troopers on I-10]

The other law enforcement agencies that responded to the shootout -- La Paz County deputies were the first to arrive, followed by Quartzsite police officers and agents from the Blythe sector of the U.S. Border Patrol --  were represented at Wednesday’s news conference. Milstead said their role was invaluable. 

“I cannot tell you -- without this relationship, without these men and women who stand with me, this ends completely differently," he said. "Our agency is very much dependent on those other agencies."

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams agreed on the importance of the relationships the agencies share.

"This is an excellent example of partnerships in action," she said.

[RELATED: 2017 officer-involved shootings]

Milstead said he expected more information to come out as the investigation continues.


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