A lengthy pursuit from central Phoenix to east Tempe early Thursday ended with a wounded officer, a dead suspect and a man in custody.
Eleven police officers opened fire on Antonio Lozada, 24, of Phoenix, just before 1 a.m. after he got out of a vehicle near Pointe Parkway and Baseline Road in Tempe and charged at police with two handguns, said Tempe Sgt. Dan Masters. Minutes earlier, the man shot a police officer in the leg.
The incident began at 16th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix about 12:15 a.m. after police said Lozada carjacked a Lincoln Navigator. Police found the Navigator, which was being followed by a Dodge Durango driven by Lozada’s accomplice Juan Pablo Suniga, 25.
At 35th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, Lozada abandoned the Navigator and got into the passenger side of the Durango.
Police cars and a helicopter chased the vehicle past Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport into Tempe, where Suniga pulled over at 2200 W. 14th Street and ran, while Lozada got into the driver’s seat and took off. Police caught Suniga, but Lozada continued south.
Police said that when Lozada got to Price and Baseline roads, he shot an officer who was placing stop sticks in the road, then headed west. The tires deflated and the SUV was forced to stop, ending the nearly 45-minute chase.
“He refused to drop the weapon,” Masters said. “They were giving him commands to surrender and he did not do that, and that’s when they fired.”
Lozada was pronounced dead at the scene. Suniga was arrested and booked into Tempe City Jail, police said.
Phoenix officer Mike Edgemon, 29, was taken to Maricopa Medical Center, where he had surgery and is expected to recover. He is a seven-year veteran, assigned as a patrol officer in the Maryvale Precinct.
Traffic was backed up for most of the day, as police blocked off a strip of Baseline Road from east of Interstate 10 to 48th Street.
The chaos was even worse just after the shooting.
“Police hadn’t cordoned off everything and people were just driving around,” said Jared Mayer, 24, of Phoenix. “I’ve never seen so many police cars in my life. My first thought was I live in a really dangerous neighborhood.”