9 officers hurt in 'ambush,' shootout at Arizona home
PHOENIX (AP) — A man ambushed a police officer who responded to a call at a Phoenix home early Friday, shooting him several times, then rained more gunfire on other officers who tried to rescue a baby that had been placed outside.
In all, five officers were shot, including four who were wounded while trying to take the baby to safety. Four more officers were injured by shrapnel or ricocheting bullets, Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Williams said.
“I hate to speculate, but it sounds like I’d be pretty safe to say nine is going to be the highest number we’ve ever had injured in one day, in one incident,” Williams said.
All were expected to survive, and the baby was unharmed, police said.
The most seriously injured officer was the first to arrive at the home, around 2:15 a.m., following a report of a woman shot. He was invited inside, Williams said.
“As he approached the doorway, the suspect ambushed him with a gun and shot him several times," he said. "That officer was able to get back and get away to safety.”
Video from the scene shows another man coming outside holding a baby and a satchel. The man put the satchel on the ground and then laid down the infant, wrapped in a blanket, between the satchel and the front door. He raised his hands to surrender while backing away from the house.
Other officers who responded approached the doorway, and the suspect fired more shots. The police returned fire, which then led the suspect to barricade himself. Eight of the officers were wounded by bullets or shrapnel in that exchange, Williams said.
Police were able to get the baby to safety as a SWAT unit took over.
The suspect remained barricaded for several hours and was later found dead inside the home. A woman at the home also was critically injured, police said in a statement. They didn’t specify how the suspect died.
The man who brought the baby outside suffered non-life-threatening injuries. “No information suggests that he’s part of the ambush, but it’s an ongoing investigation,” Williams said.
No identities were released, and police said they were still trying to learn circumstances of the incident. Detectives were gathering evidence and processing the scene Friday morning.
“This is just one more example of the dangers that officers face every day keeping us and our community safe,” police Chief Jeri Williams said at an early morning news conference. “If I seem upset, I am. This is senseless. It does not need to happen and it continues to happen over and over again.”
The middle-class neighborhood in southwest Phoenix has newly constructed stucco houses tightly packed together and sits next to large shipping and fulfillment facilities for businesses. The home had its second-story windows shot out.
Frank DeAguilar, its owner, said the residence is a rental and he didn't know anything about the people living there, including their names. He said a property management firm handles the details.
“It’s just a sad situation,” DeAguilar said.
Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper and Paul Davenport contributed to this report.