PHOENIX â€” A police lieutenant from a Phoenix suburb was shot and killed during a traffic stop and after a 50-mile chase, the two suspects stopped in the middle of a road and were wounded in a “gun battle” with officers, authorities said Friday.
Lt. Eric Shuhandler, a veteran of the Gilbert Police Department, was wounded about 11 p.m. Thursday near Mesa and rushed to a hospital, where he died, said Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marino.
The two men who allegedly were involved in the fatal shooting were identified as Christopher A. Redondo, 35, of Globe, and Daimen Irizarry, 30, of Gilbert, Marino said.
They were wounded after they stopped their truck in the middle of the road at the end of the chase and engaged in a shootout with officers. During the chase, the suspects either threw items from their truck or it fell out, police said.
Redondo is believed to have been the gunman and Irizarry the driver who led officers from four law enforcement agencies on a wild pursuit into the mountains east of metropolitan Phoenix.
They finally stopped near the mining town of Superior, where authorities said the two jumped out of their work truck and shot at officers.
Both suspects were arrested after being wounded. No other officers were hurt.
Shuhandler stopped the suspects’ work truck for having an obscured license plate, Marino said. Shuhandler went back to his patrol car, found that the passenger, Redondo, apparently had an arrest warrant and was walking back to the passenger side of the truck when he was shot, about 12 minutes after pulling them over.
Other officers saw the fleeing truck minutes later and a high-speed chase began along U.S. 60.
The suspects shot at pursuing officers during the chase and items were tossed or fell from the work truck they were driving, which disabled several police cars.
“During the pursuit the suspects did fire at officers several times, and debris was either falling out or being thrown out of the truck by the suspects,” said Lt. Steve Harrison of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “Several police vehicles were disabled, but others continued.”
Irizarry stopped the truck in the middle of U.S. 60 and both men jumped out, Harrison said.
“They engaged in what only can be described as a gun battle with officers,” Harrison said.
Both suspects were wounded in the lower extremities, taken into custody and hospitalized. Both were in stable, non-life-threatening condition Friday morning, according to Harrison said.
Marino said his understanding was that Shuhandler was hit by one bullet.
He was the second Arizona law officer to die in the line of duty in recent weeks.
Department of Public Safety officer Chris Marano was struck and killed last month by another officer’s patrol car while he was laying down spike strips to stop a vehicle during a high-speed freeway chase in Phoenix.
Shuhandler had been with the Gilbert Police Department 16 years, Harrison said.
Redondo spent nearly four years in an Arizona prison for aggravated assault and related charges and was released in June 2008, Arizona Department of Corrections online records show.