Phoenix police say Officer Moldovan was shot 8 times, including once to the head
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Newly obtained court documents by Arizona’s Family revealed that Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan was shot eight times, including once to the head.
Police were first called out to reports of vehicles speeding and doing “donuts” near 19th Avenue and Camelback Road just after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Callers reported that a Black Dodge Charger and a White Dodge Challenger were the vehicles involved. Officers showed up to find skid marks and smoke in the air but they weren’t able to find the vehicle.
A few moments later, police were able to find a Black Charger pulled into the parking lot near 15th Avenue and Camelback, where a man, now identified as Essa Williams, was seen jumping the fence into the complex, leaving his vehicle. Court paperwork says that the vehicle had a gun case inside.
Phoenix Police created a perimeter to search for Williams after he ran off. Ultimately, authorities were able to find him in a covered patio inside the apartment complex. Officers on the scene reportedly heard Williams say that he was speaking to someone on the phone, telling them that he was “going to jail.”
The officer who spotted Williams asked him if he had any weapons and he said no. At that point, he pulled a handgun from his waist and shot officer 22-year-old Tyler Moldovan approximately eight times, including to his head. Court paperwork says the Moldovan fell to the ground and was unresponsive after the first shots were fired.
Williams reportedly continued firing at Moldovan after he was lying on the ground. It was then that Williams “jumped out of the patio, dropped his handgun, and tried multiple times to pull the injured police officer’s handgun from his holster,” police paperwork said.
Another officer ran up to Williams when the suspect allegedly continued to yank and pull Officer Moldovan’s handgun from his holster. And just as an officer tried to tackle Williams down, Williams threw himself to the ground and began resisting arrest. After several minutes of trying to arrest him, another officer helped and authorities finally took him into custody. Authorities say another handgun with an extended magazine was also discovered in the patio where Williams was hiding.
“His dream was to be a police officer, and you never think, out there trying to serve the community, something like this could happen,” said Tyler’s uncle, Peter Torneanu. “We’re all devastated right now.”
Torneanu says his nephew is a truly special person. “Tyler has a good heart,” said Torneanu. “He’s always had a great heart. His goal was to serve the community.”
He graduated from the police academy in March and just recently started patrolling without a partner. His family and coworkers say he’s compassionate, something that comes from a family that serves. His wife is a trauma nurse, and his brother is a firefighter.
“They come from a very, very good family,” said Torneanu. “Down to earth, just good-hearted people, and you just don’t expect these kinds of things to happen to these kinds of people.”
Torneau is asking the community to pray for the family. “We just know with all the damage that has been done to him that it’s not looking good,” said Torneanu. “We have a very big God, and we feel very strongly that God can do miracles, and we want to continue to pray for him to make sure that he improves.”
Following his arrest, Williams made comments asking officers to shoot him, and saying that another person had shot the officer.
Court paperwork revealed Williams is facing 1st-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, resisting arrest, and attempted aggravated assault of an officer. Williams is being held on a $3 million cash bond.
As of Wednesday morning, Officer Moldovan remains on life support at a Phoenix-area hospital.
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