Suspect mixed Xanax, Percocet with alcohol before shooting Phoenix officer, court documents say
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Police say that a suspect mixed a dangerous cocktail of drugs and alcohol before crashing a car and shooting a female officer in south Phoenix last week.
Officers were first called out to a hit-and-run crash near 11th Avenue and Atlanta Avenue around 9 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 24. Investigators say that the suspect, identified as Joseph Lopez, crashed into the front yard of a home and tried to take off from the scene.
Moments later, emergency dispatchers got a call from a witness describing the suspect, saying that Lopez appeared “very agitated” while armed with a rifle. Soon afterward, court paperwork states Lopez fired at her with the gun while she was still in her patrol vehicle. At that point, Lopez reportedly took off on foot headed northbound. Police say the officer was hit in the left hip with bullet fragments injuring her lip. At last check, the officer, who has not been identified, was in stable condition after being released from the hospital over the weekend.
As detectives continued their investigation, they learned that Lopez’s girlfriend, under whom the car was registered, had called her saying that he had been in a car accident. Court documents state that the girlfriend arrived in the area as police were actively working the investigation when another witness said that Lopez was armed with a rifle, not far from the crash scene.
Ultimately, after an hours-long manhunt, detectives later found Lopez in a nearby home. Video from Arizona’s Family news chopper spotted him on the roof of a home with his hands up as police swarmed him, where authorities used less-lethal tools to take him into custody.
He was hospitalized following his arrest for a medical evaluation but was taken to the Maricopa County jail on Saturday. After officers read Lopez his Miranda rights, he reportedly admitted that he had taken two Percocet pills, a popular opioid used for pain relief, and two Xanax pills, a sedative and controlled substance used for anxiety disorders. He also told detectives had been drinking but said he could not remember whether he did or did not shoot the officer.
Lopez faces charges including first-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault on an officer, possession of weapons by a prohibited person, and illegal discharge of a firearm. Court records revealed that Lopez had spent time in state prison for previous felony charges and was released in April 2022
This was the 18th officer-involved shooting in Maricopa County and the 24th in the state in 2023.
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