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Arizona highway patrol shooting shuts down part of Interstate 10

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PHOENIX — Authorities said two men shot at Arizona highway troopers and one was killed early Wednesday along a stretch of Interstate 10 west of Phoenix.

The Department of Public Safety said what had begun as a traffic stop around 1 a.m. turned deadly after the passenger got out of the vehicle and began firing at an officer.

Lt. Col. Heston Silbert said the weapon appeared to be a submachine gun. That suspect was taken into custody.

The other suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Rodolfo Ballardo of Wasco, California, drove away, eventually abandoned the car and hijacked a big rig that was parked by the side of the road.

Ballardo smashed in the window, beat the driver, pulled a gun on him and drove off in the semi.

After a short time on the freeway, he pulled off the road and headed through Quartzsite’s business district.

Authorities, including La Paz County Sheriff’s deputies and Border Patrol agents, caught up with Ballardo, ending the confrontation “with lethal force,” Silbert said.

The investigation shut down a 24-mile stretch of freeway starting about 65 miles west of Phoenix at milepost 57.

The lanes were reopened around 8 a.m.

The state Department of Transportation had advised drivers to get around the closure by taking local roads and U.S. 60.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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