Pima County Sheriff's officials have identified the suspect who was shot during a confrontation with deputies after taking a hostage during a carjacking Wednesday.

Elijah Jamal Lawrence, 24, remains at Banner University Medical Center in critical condition, said Deputy Ryan Inglett, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

Sgt. Kevin Kubitskey, an 18-year veteran of PCSD, fired at Lawrence during the confrontation, but it was still under investigation Friday if Lawrence shot himself or was wounded by Kubitskey, Inglett said.

Kubitskey was placed on administrative leave following the incident, which is customary in these situations, Inglett said.

The incident began with a carjacking report at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 5000 block of East Valencia Road at a Chevron gas station, which turned into a chase involving DPS troopers on Interstate 10.

A man “pulled out a handgun and carjacked a victim at the Chevron who was pumping gas,” said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman. He said the armed man “took off in the car and he dumped it on the highway” and ran away.

Gress gave the following account:

About 15 minutes later, there was a report of another carjacking at a house in the 4100 block of East Dover Stravanue, which is in the county outside city limits. Failing to get a car there, the man went to another home on the street, held a man at gunpoint and stole his car while taking him hostage.

At some point, deputies caught up to the vehicle at South Catalina Avenue and East Drexel Road and a chase began.

There were two men inside the car, the gunman and the hostage. The gunman was driving and pointing a gun at the other man and also pointing the gun at law-enforcement officers.

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The vehicle stopped on East Aviation Parkway near East 34th Street when the gunman’s car veered into a concrete median. The gunman pointed a gun at the hostage again, “at which point shots were fired.” A deputy fired one round, Gress said. No law-enforcement officers were injured.

The suspect, later identified as Lawrence, was taken by ambulance in an unknown condition to Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. He was undergoing surgery Wednesday night, said Gress.

The hostage was also taken to a hospital to be checked out by doctors as a precaution.

Sheriff’s investigators, who were the lead in the case, remained at the scene late Wednesday.

Tucson Police Department and Arizona Department of Public Safety officers also were at the scene.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at cschmidt@tucson.com or 573-4191


I'm a watchdog reporter covering local government, the University of Arizona and sports investigations.