(TONOPAH, Ariz.) -- The Arizona Department of Public Safety said one of its troopers was “ambushed and shot” while responding to a call Thursday morning.
State troopers responded to reports of shots fired along the westbound roadway of I-10 near Tonopah around 4 a.m. local time. One of the troopers, a 27-year veteran, came upon a car accident near milepost 89 and saw an injured woman who had been ejected from a vehicle that rolled over, according to state officials. The trooper had started blocking off lanes when he was unexpectedly attacked, officials said.
“Our trooper was ambushed and shot by a suspect in the immediate area,” the department stated in a press release. “A physical fight ensued and as a result the suspect was shot and killed.”
At a press conference later Thursday, Col. Frank Milstead said a citizen had called to report that someone had shot at their vehicle near milepost 81 on I-10. It’s unclear if the person who fired at the vehicle is the suspect who shot the trooper.
Milstead told reporters the gunman shot the trooper in the chest and fought the law enforcement official to the ground. A person driving by saw the altercation and stopped to help the trooper. The person then retrieved a gun from his car and fatally shot the suspect, Milstead said.
The wounded trooper, whose name has not been released, was transported to a hospital where he is in stable condition and is awaiting surgery. The woman who had been found ejected from the rolled-over vehicle was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, according to Milstead.
The colonel said he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to speak to the passerby but wanted to tell the man “thank you.”
“Because I don’t know if my trooper would be alive today without your assistance,” Milstead told reporters.
Officials have not yet confirmed the suspect’s identity or the deceased occupant of the vehicle, Milstead added.
Officials are investigating the incident, the Arizona Department of Public Safety stated in the press release.
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