A police officer in Flagstaff, Arizona, was shot and killed during a domestic violence call on Saturday, before the suspect turned the gun on himself and took his own life.
Officer Tyler Stewart, 24, had visited the house of 28-year-old Robert W. Smith as part of a domestic violence investigation. When he arrived at the house, Smith began firing shots at the officer while he was outside of his patrol car. Additional officers were dispatched when they lost verbal contact with Stewart, and arrived to find him seriously injured - with at least one of the bullets reportedly hitting him in the face. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
According to police, Smith shot himself dead after firing at officer Stewart.
“This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our officer,” Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway said. “We are a very close-knit organization, and know that all members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our Officer Tyler Stewart."
Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours also responded to the tragedy, calling it “heartbreaking,” and acknowledging the sacrifice that officers like Stewart make each day by putting themselves in harms way, especially in domestic violence incidents.
“It is a dangerous job from day one,” Nabours said. “In Flagstaff, we very much know and like our police officers. They may very well be your child's little league coach, somebody you went to high school with, so we think of our police as part of the community and our friends.”
In response to Stewart’s death, Governor Jan Brewer ordered flags at half-staff. A candlelight vigil was held in Flagstaff last night.