Manhunt continues for suspect who shot a police officer outside a north Phoenix gas station

Nicholas Cowan is still on the loose.
Nicholas Cowan is still on the loose.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 11:03 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 14, 2022 at 7:22 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Silent Witness and police are offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect who shot an officer Thursday morning in north Phoenix. Officers have identified the gunman as Nicholas Cody Cowan. A reward of $10,000 is being offered for information on his whereabouts. The amount of money being offered increased Friday afternoon from $5,000. Anyone who knows where he is can call 911 or 480-WITNESS. He’s considered armed and dangerous so don’t approach him.

A Phoenix police officer is out of surgery after having a bullet removed and is in stable condition following being shot at a gas station.

Investigators found his car, a blue Prius in the area of Fifth Avenue and Greenway around 1 p.m. Aerials showed dozens of tactical officers searching the north Phoenix neighborhood for Cowan in the afternoon, but have since left the area. He is described as a white man, 35 years old, 6 feet tall, and 215 pounds. Cowan was seen wearing a black hat, white shirt, and black shorts. He has tattoos on his neck and could be possibly bleeding. A “blue alert” was issued for him around 3:55 p.m. which said he was last seen near 32nd Street and Union Hills.

Phoenix police say Nicholas Cody Cowan is the suspect in Thursday morning's officer-involved...
Phoenix police say Nicholas Cody Cowan is the suspect in Thursday morning's officer-involved shooting.(Phoenix Police Department)

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association says that the officer was rushed into surgery at HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center. Police say she underwent surgery to have a bullet removed, which was successful. She was out of surgery around 4:30 p.m. She’s in stable condition. The officer, who has 24 years with the department, has a spouse who also is a Phoenix police officer. “This is a family of public servants to our community,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said.

“I’m angry, I’m tired, and I’m frustrated.” Phoenix Police chief Jeri Williams says about the 8th Phoenix officer shot this year.

Phoenix police said they were responding to a domestic violence call after a woman ran to a gas station in the area of Cave Creek and Beardsley roads around 10:15 a.m. Williams says the woman was afraid of confrontation with Cowan, her boyfriend. The woman said Cowan had “committed several criminal acts” and tried to commit suicide, police said. She also said he threatened to “shoot it out” police if they were called, investigators said.

As police arrived, Cowan entered the parking lot of the Marathon gas station. As the officer was walking toward him, he fired his handgun from inside his car, striking the officer. Another officer fired back as Cowan continue to shoot, now at the backup officer, police said. He then drove off. The backup officer wasn’t hit.

Video from Arizona’s Family News Chopper showed an extensive police presence at the Marathon gas station on Wednesday. Our crews at the gas station noticed what appeared to be several bullet holes in two of the store’s windows. Video from the scene also showed bullet holes in the windshield of a car at the convenience store. Additional officers were seen at the Jack in the Box next door.

Phoenix police worked with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to issue the “blue alert.” According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an emergency alert can be issued when a person “poses an imminent and credible threat to law enforcement.”

A string of violence against police

"In four months, we've had 8 officers shot (and) 13 injured in 4 months." Phoenix chief Jeri Williams said Friday on Good Morning Arizona.

“Here I am once again, standing before you, delivering this time of news outside of a hospital,” a visibly upset Williams said at the start of the news conference. “I’m angry, I’m tired, and I’m frustrated.” Williams said this is the eighth Phoenix officer shot and 13th officer injured in the last four critical incidents they’ve responded to in the last four months.

Hours later, there was another officer-involved shooting on Thursday, this time in Glendale. Police said a domestic violence suspect started a standoff and hours later, opened fire, hitting an officer. A SWAT officer returned fire, killing him. The officer had very minor injuries but was still taken to the hospital. Glendale Police Chief Chris Briggs also spoke emotionally about the rise in violence against police officers. “These things do not have to happen. The divisiveness, the lawlessness does not have to happen. We shouldn’t be here talking about these things, certainly not two in one day. We can all do better,” said Briggs.

The shooting in Phoenix was the 19th officer-involved shooting in Maricopa County this year. It was the 31st officer-involved shooting statewide, according to Arizona’s Family count. It’s been two months since nine officers were hurt in an ambush on the south side of the city.

Like Thursday’s shooting, February’s ambush-style attack involved a domestic violence incident. Police had been called out to a home after a woman was shot. Late last year, Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan was shot eight times, including once to the head, while he was responding to vehicles speeding and doing “donuts” in west Phoenix.

Stay with Arizona’s Family as this story develops.