PHOENIX (AP) — Two people were killed and five injured — including two police officers — when a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle and wearing tactical gear began a seemingly random attack in Phoenix on Sunday night.
Phoenix police received a call about shots fired in the north-central part of the city around 8:30 p.m., according to a statement released Monday morning.
As officers arrived, a man immediately opened fire on several fully marked patrol SUVs. Four patrol cars were riddled with bullets. One officer was struck by a bullet in the shoulder and a second officer was hit by shrapnel in multiple places including the face.
Police said the officer shot in shoulder was able to get out of his car and return fire before other officers came to his aid to remove him from the area for medical treatment. Other officers began evacuating nearby businesses and bringing community members to a safe place.
Preliminary investigative information, along with surveillance video from nearby businesses, shows the suspect leaving a room at a motel in the area and begin shooting at random, the statement said. The man is seen firing his rifle into the motel then turning the rifle on a car pulling into the parking lot. Two people inside that car died on the scene from gunshot wounds.
The suspect is also seen throwing a Molotov cocktail at a restaurant window. It did not ignite. It was about that time that officers began to arrive and were fired upon.
Surveillance video shows the suspect making his way through the parking lot and then falling to the ground. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner will determine the manner of death, but police say it appears he may have taken his own life.
The suspect was found with a rifle, several magazines, incendiary devices, a gas mask, and helmet nearby.
Three bystanders in various locations around the shooting scene were injured by flying gunfire, treated at hospitals and released.
The identities of the wounded officers have not yet been released. No updates were immediately available on their conditions.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives announced it is assisting in the investigation of the shootings.
“Once again, this is another example of gun violence in our community,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference Sunday night. “How many more officers have to be shot? How many more community members have to be killed before those in our community take a stand? This is not a Phoenix police issue, this is a community issue. If not now, when?”