GLENDALE, AVONDALE, and SURPRISE AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- According to AZ Family, a man wanted for a wide range of crimes throughout the Phoenix area has been shot by police in Buckeye.
Christopher Mendoza's crime spree started when he forced the evacuation of a Walmart in Goodyear on Dec. 20, police say.
Investigators say he pulled a gun and threatened his girlfriend at a Goodyear Walmart. The situation forced the evacuation of the store. Mendoza got away. As he ran from police, he confronted a man in a car, kidnapped him at gunpoint and demanded a ride.
Sunday night, Goodyear officers attempted to stop a vehicle believed to be occupied by Mendoza. Officers pursued the vehicle until Mendoza bailed out and ran from officers into a home near the area of 111th Avenue and Fourth Street.
Several law enforcement agencies were on scene, along with Goodyear SWAT and crisis negotiators. During negotiations, Mendoza ran away through the backyard, past the police perimeter, and disappeared into the neighborhood, police said. A Phoenix Police Department helicopter and K-9 teams continued to search for him.
"Certainly with all of the things that are going on -- you have a very large perimeter, a lot of moving parts -- unfortunately, these things happen," Berry, said Monday morning while police were on the scene for the second time in Avondale.
Goodyear police said that Mendoza returned to the home Monday morning, just hours after the first standoff ended.
Police said the homeowner contacted them to report that Mendoza was there. They believe Mendoza lives in the area, but it’s not clear if Mendoza and that homeowner are acquainted.
“I think the message here is that this individual does not want to be apprehended by police, and so a desperate person will often take desperate measures,” Berry said, advising area residents to stay inside and keep their doors locked.
On Monday, police had a Surprise neighborhood surrounded for several hours near Acoma and Cotton lanes, saying they believed Mendoza was inside. But he wasn't located there.
While police had a Surprise home surrounded, a shooting involving police officers in Buckeye was reported just before 6 p.m. near 203rd Avenue and Watkins Road.
Buckeye police said Mendoza stole a pest control truck that was left running and, after some kind of altercation with police, was shot several times by officers. Police performed life-saving measures, and was flown to an area hospital in stable condition. No officers were hurt.
Mendoza, whom Berry described as "a known felon and a prohibited possessor of firearms," is wanted on suspicion of aggravated assault on police, threatening and intimidating, disorderly conduct and kidnapping.