Officer released from hospital after being ambushed and shot in south Phoenix; man in custody
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Phoenix police officer who was injured in a shooting Friday morning was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon.
The 26-year-old officer made her way out of the hospital among a supportive group of fellow officers who gathered in anticipation of her release. “Something tragic happens but has a positive aspect in the background. It shows the positive support from the community. The officers and the hard diligent work that detectives did all day yesterday in finding the person responsible,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Brian Bower.
The man authorities arrested in connection with the attack, Joseph Lopez, 29, was arrested Friday evening around 6 p.m.
According to Sgt. Bower, just before 9 a.m., witnesses reported a car crashed into the front yard of a home near Ninth and Atlanta avenues, south of Broadway Road, and described the suspect. The officer who was the first to arrive spotted a man who matched Lopez’s description, Bower said. As she drove closer, the man pulled out a rifle and started shooting at her. He then took off.
A manhunt began to find the man, and detectives later found Lopez in a nearby home. Bower said police used less-lethal tools to take him into custody. He had a minor injury and was taken to the hospital. Lopez spent time in state prison for previous felony charges and was released in April 2022. Arizona’s Family news chopper spotted him on the roof of a home with his hands up as police swarmed him.
Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan said the officer was shot once in her left hip, and bullet shrapnel hit her face.“This was an ambush on our officer. This is the reality our officers face every day when they put on this uniform,” said Chief Sullivan. “The majority of those suspects who have pulled guns on us recently are prohibited, possessors. They shouldn’t have guns to use in the first place. And regardless of what the facts are in this case, I’m going to work with our local, state, and federal partners to do whatever we can to reduce gun crime and hold those accountable.”
Traffic restrictions were in place in the neighborhood. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents also responded to the scene. Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell also arrived in the area shortly after the shooting occurred, a standard procedure when an officer is shot, according to MCAO.
Investigators say 23 schools in the area were placed on lockdown as a precaution, but the order was later lifted.
Below is the full statement released by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) Friday afternoon:
This is the 18th officer-involved shooting in Maricopa County and the 24th in the state in 2023.
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