Officer shot in ‘ambush’ in south Phoenix, suspect arrested for attempted murder

Mar 25, 2023, 12:14 PM | Updated: Mar 27, 2023, 7:51 am

Joseph Lopez (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Joseph Lopez (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — An officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being shot Friday morning by a suspect.

Phoenix Police said the officer suffered the gunshot wound in “a violent and unprovoked attack” near Seventh Avenue and Roeser Road, between Baseline Road and Southern Avenue, before 10 a.m.

One person was in custody at about 5 p.m. on Friday, according to police.

On Saturday, police identified the suspect as Joseph Lopez. He was booked for attempted murder and other felony charges.

“This was an ambush on our officer,” Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan said during a press conference. “This is a reality our officers face every day when they put on this uniform.”

The officer, who has less than a year of experience, was the first to arrive to the scene where a vehicle crashed into the front yard of a residence, Phoenix Police Sgt. Brian Bower said during the press conference.

When the officer moved toward the vehicle, the suspect pulled out a rifle and fired several shots, Bower said.

The officer was struck in the left hip once while seated in the patrol vehicle and was also hit in the face with bullet fragments.

The officer performed a tactical maneuver with her vehicle and get away from the area and was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

She was released from the hospital on Saturday.

“When an officer is not expecting to be confronted with a situation like that, that is the definition of an ambush,” Bower said in a later press conference.

Detectives and officers swept the neighborhood and identified the suspect inside a nearby residence.

Detectives with the Special Assignment Unit used less lethal munitions, and the suspect exited the residence, climbing down from the roof to be taken into custody. He sustained a minor injury and was transported to a hospital, Bower said.

No other members of the community were injured in the incident, although another officer received minor injuries from a dog bite during the search.

The scene was still active Friday afternoon, and the public was asked to avoid the area. Schools in the neighborhood were placed on lockdown, and traffic restrictions were implemented.

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Officer shot in ‘ambush’ in south Phoenix, suspect arrested for attempted murder