Suspect dead after shootout with police in east Phoenix neighborhood

Jan 11, 2024, 12:29 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2024, 10:22 am

Multiple Phoenix police cruisers can be seen at a crime scene marked by yellow and red tape...

Police were involved in a shooting not far from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024. (AP File Photo)

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — A man died after exchanging gunfire with police in east Phoenix on Thursday morning, authorities said.

The Phoenix Police Department said the shooting took place in a neighborhood near 32nd and Van Buren streets around 11 a.m.

A welfare check brought two officers to the area, Sgt. Robert Scherer told reporters during a news conference.

“Details in the call indicated that a residence in this area had water actually running out of it,” Scherer said.

The officers tried to contact a resident through the front and back doors, he added.

While they were in the back, they spoke with a man later identified as 43-year-old John Michael Lewis, who allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at officers, Scherer said.

“Both officers initially retreated, at which time an exchange of gunshots between one officer and the man occurred,” he said.

Police believe Lewis fired at least one time and the officer fired multiple rounds.

The officers eventually fully retreated and established a containment around the house, Scherer said. They then waited for Phoenix PD’s tactical support bureau to enter the scene and take over.

Around an hour after the initial shootout, officers entered the home and discovered the resident dead with a gunshot wound, he said.

Police were working to determine whether the fatal shot was fired by the officer or was self-inflicted.

The area was shut down while investigators worked the scene.

Scherer said the incident, like all police shootings, is subject to a criminal investigation and an internal investigation.

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Suspect dead after shootout with police in east Phoenix neighborhood