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Police searching for suspect in carjacking at Phoenix grade school

PHOENIX – Authorities are searching for a man who stole a vehicle from a teenager at a Phoenix elementary school while fleeing from police Tuesday morning.

The man wielded a knife inside the Shaw Butte Elementary School administrative office when he took the keys from a 17-year-old female, Phoenix Police Sgt. Maggie Cox said during a press briefing outside the campus at 21st Avenue and Cactus Road.

“He did not make it into the area where the children are in class. Right now school is in session,” Cox said around 10:30 a.m.

“You do see us out here, but we’re just investigating the crime so we can apprehend him.”

The man drove off on Cactus Road in the 2003 white Toyota Avalon with Arizona plate ATA5DWA, Cox said.

“We want our community members to know if you see this vehicle, please call police, do not approach,” Cox said. “The suspect was armed with a knife.”

The suspect is a white male in his 30s, around 5 feet, 11 inches tall, and was wearing a gray T-shirt and jeans, Cox said.

The incident started after police responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle in a residential neighborhood south of the school.

Police found a man and a woman sleeping or passed out inside a pickup truck and started questioning them.

Officers determined the driver provided a false name and asked the driver to step out of the vehicle. He then began ramming the officer’s patrol car and hit a half-wall before fleeing on foot, according to authorities.

The woman stayed in the vehicle and spoke with police, Cox said.

While police were setting up containment, they were called to the school, where they learned about the carjacking.

The victim, who was at the school to drop off an item for a sibling, received minor injuries that didn’t require treatment, Cox said.

Anybody with information about the case was asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446) for Spanish.

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