Along Interstate 10 in Maricopa County, Arizona, a Department of Public Safety officer was attacked while responding to the scene of a vehicle rollover. Out of nowhere, a man opened fire on the officer and proceeded to then attack him while on the ground. However, this is not a story with a sad ending, thanks to several good citizens.
After the officer was shot, Good Samaritans who happened to be passing by stopped and immediately jumped into action. One, who was armed, shot and killed the suspect who attacked the DPS officer. The other called the dispatch on the radio, requesting backup officers at the scene.
CBS 5 has further details about how the ordeal happened:
It started shortly before 4:30 a.m. Thursday with a 911 call from a driver east of California who said somebody shot at his car from the median of I-10. According to Col. Frank Milstead, the directors of DPS, that’s the call to which the trooper was responding when he came upon a single-vehicle rollover wreck at milepost 89 near Tonopah. A woman had been ejected from that vehicle.
The trooper immediately stopped and began laying out flares.
DPS Capt. Damon Cecil said the trooper, a 27-year-veteran of the agency, was ambushed by the suspect when he got out of his vehicle at the scene of the rollover. That’s when the trooper was shot and wounded.
The officer was wounded, but his injuries are non-life-threatening. DPS Colonel Milsead described further what happened after the initial ambush:
“The suspect is getting the better of the trooper and is on top of him and striking the trooper’s head on the pavement,” he explained.
At that point, an “uninvolved third party” who was driving with his wife to California saw the trooper grappling with the suspect and stopped to help.
“The trooper says, ‘Please help me,’ and asks the uninvolved third party for help,” Milstead said. “That person retreats back to his vehicle, removes his own weapon from the vehicle, confronts the suspect, giving him orders to stop assaulting the officer. The suspect refuses. The uninvolved third party fires, striking and killing the suspect.”
Subsequently, the ambushed trooper’s radio was used to contact dispatch. The civilian, whom is still yet to be identified, called out “Officer down!” The dispatch then communicated with this civilian seeking more details:
“To the civilian on the DPS trooper’s radio, if you can hear me, I need you to let me know where the suspect is that got in an altercation with our trooper,” the dispatcher could be heard saying on the scanner.
“The suspect is uh, occasionally breathing or stirring. He’s been shot by a passer-by,” the man with the wounded trooper’s radio calmly responded. “He’s laying right next to the officer.”
DPS Captain Damon Cecil stated that the person who shot the officer may have actually been involved in the rollover, though this has yet to be confirmed. The driver of the car, a woman, was killed in the crash.
At this point, there is not a clear motive for the attack.
“I have no idea,” Colonel Milstead said. “Everything happened down in the middle of nowhere and all of the people that knew what happened are dead — except for my trooper, who drove upon this scene. So, we have a lot of investigation to do. … We don’t know what the story is, and we’ll figure that out as time goes on.”
Additional details keep coming in on this story, and it now appears that the suspect who attacked the officer had actually been sniping vehicles traveling on the highway before the officer came along.
According to DPS Col. Frank Milstead, a citizen called to report that their vehicle was shot at from the median near milepost 81 on Interstate 10.
My inclination is to believe that this woman was hit by gunfire from this alleged sniper, and crashed due to her car being hit. This has yet to be determined, but that’s at least my two cents on how this incident may have started.
It is extremely fortunate that these citizens were able and willing to intervene to save this officer from the ambush attack. If the armed citizen was not there, this DPS trooper may in fact have died, possibly along with the other Good Samaritan who radioed the police dispatch.
“I don’t know that my trooper would be alive today without his assistance,” Milstead said.
This is yet another example, in a series of recent events, of armed citizens backing up police officers when they are outgunned or under attack.
Remember a few months back in Florida? A very similar situation unfolded along an interstate highway, where an officer was attacked. The ambush was stopped by an armed citizen who saved the officer’s life.
This event, once again, proves the importance of an armed citizenry to aid the police in fighting crime. Even the police can be overpowered sometimes, and these ambush attacks are the most pertinent example of that. But time and time again, we see responsible armed citizens exercising their right to bear arms for the protection of life against evildoers.
Carry on folks, be responsible, and get trained. Our law enforcement officers need us to back them up.