Early in the morning on Jan. 12, an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper was responding to a call about a rolled-over vehicle and shots fired along the Interstate 10, just east of California. When the officer arrived, he was reportedly ambushed and shot.
A passing driver saw the scene, and the trooper being beaten into the asphalt, according to KPNX. The witness pulled over and allegedly shot and killed the man attacking the trooper.
“The trooper says, ‘Please, help me,’ and asks the uninvolved third party for help,” Arizona DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said, reports KPHO. “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.”
"I don't know if my trooper would be alive today without his assistance," Milstead added.
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The injured trooper, a 27-year veteran of the force, is recovering in a hospital with wounds to his shoulder and upper chest, reports The Associated Press. The officer underwent surgery for his injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.
Both the female victim of the initial rollover crash, and the man who allegedly attacked the Arizona trooper have been pronounced dead, according to AP.
Investigators are trying to determine if the roll-over crash or the initial report of shots fired involve the suspect who attacked the trooper.
"He's incredibly fortunate to be here with us today," Milstead said.