PHOENIX - A Phoenix police officer died and another was in critical condition after a shootout Monday that also killed a man wanted on a felony warrant, authorities said.
The officers, part of a fugitive apprehension team, were shot near the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road at 3:30 p.m.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said both officers were taken St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix where one died while in surgery. The officer has not been identified, but Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said he was a 21-year veteran of the force.
"The other officer is fighting for his life," Garcia said at a news conference. The name of that nine-year department veteran also was being withheld by police officials.
The officer has since left surgery and is recovering in the ICU, Crump said.
The shootout occurred after the suspect fled in his car, caused a three-vehicle collision, and ran away on foot before exchanging gunfire with officers outside a check cashing and title loan business, authorities said.
"It was obvious that the guy was out of control," said Wayne Monton, who owns a nearby business and witnessed the shooting. "After the crash and the shooting, everybody just took off running. It was chaos."
The suspect came around a corner with a gun and a third officer was able to fire on the suspect and stop the threat, police spokesman Detective James Holmes said.
The suspect's name was not immediately released.
An 83-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man suffered minor injuries in the car accident that closed an intersection for more than an hour.
Nick Cusson, manager of a restaurant in a shopping mall near the shooting scene, said he heard more than a dozen shots just a few minutes after arriving at work.
"The next thing you know, the whole parking lot is scattered with people," Cusson said. "Then within about 30 seconds, we see all these cops driving up."
Cusson said he had noticed several unmarked police cars parked nearby just before the shooting but didn't think much of it.
"Then I guess there was a shootout," he said. "We were all looking out the window. We were kind of curious. We weren't sure they were gunshots at first."
Cusson said he was closing his shop because the entire area had been cordoned off by police.
"No one can come pick their food up and we can't get delivery drivers out," he said.
As a result of the shooting, 43rd Avenue between Camelback and Maryland and Bethany Home Road between 47th and 39th avenues were closed.
Closures will be in effect most of the night and potentially into the morning. Use alternate routes— Glendale Police (@GlendaleAZPD) March 3, 2014
KTAR's Detour Dan reported that there were more than 70 police cars in the area.
A nearby high school was evacuated.
Update: RCB Medical Arts High School (43rd Ave/Bethany Home Road) has been evacuated. #abc15— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) March 3, 2014
KTAR's Corbin Carson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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