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Suspect tried to flee with Chandler officer in car before being shot, killed

(Facebook Photo/Chandler Police Department)

PHOENIX — Chandler police said Thursday a suspect attempted to flee in a stolen vehicle with an officer inside before being shot and killed Monday morning.

Police said that 32-year-old Kevin Smallman and his wife, 26-year-old Krystal Ehrlich, were approached by a Chandler police officer at about 7 a.m. at the Hampton Inn near Chandler Boulevard and Interstate 10 after the officer saw the two exit a white Toyota Prius, which had been reported stolen.

When the officer, 29-year-old Jonathan Castlegrante, attempted to detain Smallman, the suspect ran out of the hotel and entered the Prius, police said.

Castlegrante followed into the vehicle and tried to arrest Smallman, who started the car and began to drive away, according to police.

Ehrlich also followed Castlegrante into the car, police said.

As Smallman began to drive the car, the emergency button on Castlegrante’s portable radio was activated and he could be heard repeatedly yelling, “Don’t do it I’ll shoot you” at the suspect, police said.

Castlegrante then shot one round from his weapon and struck Smallman, police said.

The car crashed into a block wall after the shot was fired, according to police.

When other Chandler officers arrived at the scene, they pulled Castlegrante out of the vehicle and provided treatment to Smallman, police said.

Smallman was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Castlegrante was treated for unspecified injuries at a local hospital and released that night, police said.

Ehrlich, who was also hospitalized with unspecified injuries, was arrested Tuesday evening on two felony drug charges because methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in the car.

The stolen vehicle had been spotted in the area Sunday, but the suspects eluded police.

Chandler police said the investigation into the incident was ongoing.

The incident was the fifth officer-involved shooting in the Valley so far this year and first in Chandler, according to statistics compiled by KTAR News 92.3 FM.

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