PHOENIX — Two Phoenix police officers were seriously injured early Tuesday when a man in a car drove into them in a parking lot.
A third officer, who was also injured, arrested the driver, 44-year-old Marc LaQuon Payne, whose car rammed into a convenience store near Interstate 17 and Camelback Road around 2 a.m.
“This was a violent, cowardly act on our police officers,” Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said.
The officers were standing outside the store next to a marked car when Payne pulled into the lot.
Payne sat in the lot for a few minutes before allegedly gunning the engine.
“At this point, it appears he deliberately ran them over,” Sgt. Jonathan Howard said.
“More often than not we have some indication that we’re about to get into an altercation. They were completely unaware of him until he was revving his engine and running at them.”
Yahner said Payne would be charged with three counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
“We are confident this is an intentional act,” he said.
Yahner refused to use Payne’s name.
The police chief joined Mac and Gaydos on KTAR News 92.3 FM and said that the officer who was hit and thrown into the glass was serving his very first day on the squad, and all three of the officers acted like heroes.
“I’m very proud of how they reacted and used the least amount of force necessary to put him in custody,” Yahner said, adding that deadly force could have definitely been warranted in that situation. But the officers were able to get Payne into custody without the use of a firearm.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton echoed the police chief’s sentiment.
“Both (officers I spoke with) indicated that the rookie officer, who was working his first full day on the job and was seriously injured, acted heroically,” he said in a press release.
Yahner said he was shocked and “outraged” by what happened, and hopes this is an isolated event.
“We’ve heard about other cities, things across the nation that has occurred, but nothing this unprovoked, this blatant has happened right here in our own backyard in Phoenix, Arizona,” Yahner said.
One officer was hospitalized, another sustained minor injuries and the third had a broken leg. As of Wednesday afternoon, all three officers were released from the hospital and are recovering well according to Phoenix police.
“Thank goodness we’re not planning three funerals, thank goodness those officers are going to be OK,” Yahner said.
Fire Capt. Rob McDade said Payne was hospitalized with serious injuries. Yahner said they are still talking to Payne’s family to figure out a motive for the incident.
KTAR’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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