Ex-girlfriend of Nicholas Cowan arrested in Prescott Valley

Nicole Montalbano, 33, was arrested at her Prescott Valley home last weekend and is currently in jail with no bond.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 11:40 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 8:17 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The ex-girlfriend of the man accused of shooting a Phoenix police officer last week helped him hide from police and tried to destroy cellphones used by him, according to court documents. Nicole Montalbano, 33, was arrested at her Prescott Valley home last weekend and is currently in jail with no bond.

Montalbano’s arrest stems from a domestic violence report on Thursday that ended with an officer-involved shooting and a manhunt that went on for more than three days. According to court documents, Maltabano tried to damage cellphones investigators believe Nicholas Cody Cowan used after Thursday’s shooting. Investigators say she put them in a toilet tank when officers started to search her home on Saturday. In addition to the phones, court documents say investigators found identification cards belonging to Cowan and receipts for the phones. Officers also took floor mats from Montalbano’s car, saying they looked like they had blood on them. Investigators believe Cowan was shot several times in Thursday’s shootout with police.

📄/▸ Original story: Manhunt continues for suspect who shot a police officer outside a north Phoenix gas station

According to the Phoenix Police Department, a woman -- not Montalbano -- met police at a gas station near Cave Creek and Beardsley roads Thursday morning and told them she was afraid of a confrontation with Cowan, whom she had been seeing. Police say Cowan shot one officer, identified in court documents as Denise Bruce-Jones, and fired at a second officer before driving away. Investigators also believe several people, including Montalbano, helped him elude police.

According to court documents, investigators linked Cowan to Montalbano after a six-minute phone call between the two. Police say there were several calls between the shooting and Saturday when investigators served a search warrant at Montalbano’s home.

Police eventually caught up with Cowan at a Scottsdale rental property Sunday night. Officers took him into custody after an hours-long standoff and then took him to the hospital. Investigators believe he was still injured from being shot during Thursday’s shootout.

📄/▸ Man accused of shooting Phoenix officer arrested after standoff at Scottsdale home

As for Montalbano, she was booked into Yavapai County Jail for suspicion of hindering prosecution and evidence tampering, both felonies if charged. In addition, investigators accuse Montalbano of making a false report to police, the highest misdemeanor class. At this point, she’s being held without bond because she was on felony release in connection with a 2020 case in Yavapai County. Details about those charges weren’t available.

Bruce-Jones continues to recover in the hospital. She is a 24-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department. She also has a spouse who’s a Phoenix police officer.