UPDATE: Phoenix officer Tyler Moldovan was shot eight times, including once in the head

Essa Williams facing several charges, including attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer
Officer Tyler Moldovan
Phoenix police officer Tyler Moldovan was shot several times early Tuesday, Dec. 14.(Phoenix Police Department)
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 8:52 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 11:23 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix police officer is fighting for his life after being shot by a suspect eight times early Tuesday, Dec. 14.

The Phoenix Police Department said officer Tyler Moldovan, 22, and others were responding to reports of vehicles speeding and doing “donuts” in the area of 19th Avenue and Camelback Road.

Callers reported a Dodge Charger and Challenger were involved. When officers showed up, they saw skid marks on the ground and smoke in the air but were not able to locate the vehicles.

A few moments later, police spotted the Charger in a parking lot near 15th Avenue and Camelback. Essa Kolareh Eugene Williams was seen jumping a fence at a nearby apartment complex.

Officers on the scene reportedly heard Williams say that he was speaking to someone on the phone, telling them that he was “going to jail.”

The officer who saw Williams asked him if he had any weapons and he said no. At that point, Williams pulled a handgun out of his waistband and shot Moldovan eight times, including once in the head.

Essa Kolareh Eugene Williams is accused of shooting Phoenix police officer Tyler Moldovan early...
Essa Kolareh Eugene Williams is accused of shooting Phoenix police officer Tyler Moldovan early Tuesday, Dec. 14.(Phoenix Police Department)

Williams reportedly continued firing at Moldovan after he was on the ground. Williams then “jumped out of the patio, dropped his handgun, and tried multiple times to pull the injured police officer’s handgun from his holster,” police paperwork said.

Another officer ran up to Williams as the suspect allegedly continued to try to get Moldovan’s handgun. Just as an officer tried to tackle Williams, Williams threw himself to the ground and began resisting arrest. After several minutes, another officer helped and authorities finally took Williams into custody. Authorities said another handgun with an extended magazine was also discovered in the patio.

After Williams was taken into custody, he allegedly asked officers to shoot him and claimed someone else had shot Moldovan.

Williams is facing charges of attempted first-degree murder of an officer, weapon possession by a felon, resisting arrest and attempted aggravated assault of an officer. He is being held on a $3 million bond.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Moldovan has been with the department for 1 1/2 years. He graduated from the police academy in March and just finished field training.

“This kind of incident sends shockwaves throughout our entire community. There are no words when this kind of incident happens,” Williams said. “We’re asking you to keep the Moldovan family, Tyler, Chelsey, the 61 King Squad, the Phoenix Police Department and the entire community in your thoughts and prayers.

“And I can say this, Tyler is doing exactly what we expect our police officers to do ... and that’s fight and that’s continue to fight. So please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

The PPD said no officers fired their weapons and homicide detectives are on scene piecing things together.

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