One officer dead and another injured in Arizona after being struck by suspect in stolen vehicle
An Arizona police officer was fatally struck and another critically injured by a “violent felon in a stolen vehicle following a multi-agency shooting and pursuit,” authorities said Friday.
A Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy was pursuing a vehicle when the person inside it began to shoot at the deputy Thursday about 10 p.m. The deputy continued the pursuit into the city of Chandler in Maricopa County, where the suspect busted through a gate to the airport, which had to be shut down.
The suspect went from Chandler onto the freeway and into the city of Gilbert, where he ended up at a car dealership and stole a vehicle, according to the Gilbert Police Department.
The suspect, identified by Gilbert police as 25-year-old Jonathon Altland, then allegedly fatally struck Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar and also injured Gilbert Officer Rico Aranda with that vehicle.
Officer Farrar, 50, was an 18-year veteran assigned to the K-9 unit, Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said at a media briefing.
Gilbert Police said Aranda, who has been with the department since July 2018, was in critical condition with a head injury. It said, in a tweet, that Aranda was stable “and he has shown signs of improvement.”
Altland was injured and taken into custody after seven officers fired their weapons at the suspect, Gilbert police said in a news release. Altland’s injuries are not life-threatening, and he is facing charges of murder, aggravated assault and auto theft.
Three state troopers also had injuries that were not life-threatening, according to Gilbert police. An employee of the San Tan Ford car dealership suffered minor injuries as well.
“This is a very difficult time for our organization, our department and really the entire Chandler community,” Duggan said. “Just take a moment and remember and be mindful of the brave men and women who are out there daily helping to keep our community safe.”