A state trooper was shot and wounded and a suspect was killed after a high-speed chase on Interstate 10 near Willcox on Thursday.
According to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, a Department of Public Safety trooper observed a silver Chevrolet SUV traveling at about 110 mph on I-10 near milepost 378 shortly after 3 a.m. The trooper pulled the SUV over.
During the stop, the driver of the SUV drove away and a pursuit began involving the trooper. The driver headed toward Willcox at speeds reaching more than 100 mph, the sheriff’s office said.
Willcox police used spike strips to deflate the suspect’s tires near milepost 344. Even with flat tires the SUV continued to elude officers until a trooper used what is called a “PIT” maneuver to strike the SUV with his patrol car and spin it out of control.
“During the rotation, the driver fired a handgun at the trooper multiple times, striking the trooper’s vehicle and shooting the trooper,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The vehicle came to a stop and the driver, the sole occupant of the SUV, ran into a nearby neighborhood. Officers later found him inside a vehicle at a residence.
The suspect was ordered out of the vehicle and came out holding a handgun, which he refused to put down, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Officers commanded him to drop his gun and when he again refused, officers shot him, the Sheriff’s Office said. First aid was given at the scene and the man was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The suspect has been identified as a 21-year-old man with a last known address in Georgia.
The wounded trooper was taken to Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson where he underwent surgery Thursday and is expected to recover, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the criminal investigation as lead agency with review and oversight from the Cochise County Attorneys’ Office, while DPS will conduct an internal investigation.
“I am glad the officer shot will hopefully recover, and the other law enforcement officers/deputies involved in this incident are safe after this critical situation,” Cochise Sheriff Mark Dannels said in a prepared statement. “The suspect made some fatal decisions.”
The name of the suspect has not been released. The name of the injured DPS trooper has also not been released.