1 officer killed, 1 injured by a suspect in a stolen car chase in Arizona
A criminal in a stolen car beat and killed a police officer and seriously injured another during a wildcat car chase that temporarily closed an urban airport in suburban Phoenix before ending up at a dealership in another, authorities said Friday With.
The late Thursday night chase resulted in the death of Chandler police officer Christopher Farrar and left Gilbert police officer Rico Aranda hospitalized in critical condition with a serious head injury.
“Chris was hit and killed by a violent criminal in a stolen vehicle after shooting and multiple agency pursuit,” said Chandler police chief Sean Duggan on Friday.
Farrar had been on duty for 18 years and was currently part of the K-9 unit. His numerous awards over the years include the Medal of Honor in 2004, the Community Service Award in 2009, and four Lifesaving Awards, Chandler Police said.
Aranda, who has been in his department since July 2018, remained in critical but stable condition on Friday and showed signs of improvement, Gilbert police said in a statement.
The suspect stole a vehicle and was trying to drive away from a Ford dealer when four state troops and three Pinal County sheriff deputies fired at him, Gilbert police said.
The suspect, whose identity was not disclosed, was detained and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Gilbert police said.
Details of his injuries have not been released. Chandler police described him as a “violent criminal” but did not provide additional details.
Along with the two officers hit by the vehicle driven by the escaping suspect, a car dealership janitor was beaten and left with minor injuries, and three soldiers were also slightly injured, Gilbert police said. It was not clear how the soldiers were injured.
Gilbert police and Pinal Sheriff Mark Lamb said the chase started around 10 p.m. Thursday when a deputy sheriff tried to overtake a fast moving vehicle and then reported it had been shot at.
Chase went to Chandler on the Phoenix Subway, where the suspect drove onto a freeway before entering the city airport and crashing through a gate, temporarily closing the airport, Gilbert police said.
The suspect then got back on the freeway and headed the wrong way to Gilbert, where he crashed the vehicle near a ramp and then hit the SanTan Motorplex, police said. He then stole a vehicle from the local Ford dealer and hit the officers and employees when the suspect tried to drive away just before midnight, Gilbert police said.
Gilbert police said they were still actively processing the crime scene Friday afternoon and had no additional information to release.
“I just ask you to keep Chris’ family in your thoughts and prayers and take a moment to look out for the brave men and women who are out there every day to protect our communities,” said the chief.
The killed officer touched many lives during his 18-year service, Duggan said.
Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags to be hoisted until sunset on Friday in honor of the fallen officer.
“Officer Farrar was a hero through and through, and his commitment to protecting the Arizonans has been unwavering. My condolences go out to the families of Officer Farrar, the Chandler Police Department and the entire law enforcement community at this difficult time, “Ducey said in a statement.
The Gilbert Police Leadership Association announced that it has created a GoFundMe account on behalf of Officer Aranda.