A suspect is dead and an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper is recovering after he was ambushed. The suspect was shot and killed by a passing driver early Thursday on Interstate 10, according to DPS officials.
The man who witnessed the scene warned the suspect to stop beating the trooper, but the man continued, according to the Associated Press. He approached and asked the trooper if he needed help, who promptly said yes, according to The Arizona Republic.
The trooper is recovering.
Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead said the suspect was shot and killed by a witness who pulled off the interstate to help the trooper, KGW reports.
“I don’t know if my trooper would be alive today without his assistance,” Milstead said.
According to Milstead, the 27-year DPS veteran was taken to a hospital where he was alert and talking.
The trooper will undergo surgery to repair a severe wound to his right shoulder, but it “looks like he will be okay after some recovery,” Milstead said.
According to Milstead, a call came in early Thursday morning from a driver whose car had been shot at from the median of I-10 at milepost 81, just east of California.
The trooper was on his way to investigate the call when he discovered a rollover crash in which a woman had been ejected. The woman was later pronounced dead.
As the trooper began blocking off lanes of traffic and laying out flares, he was ambushed, Milstead said. The suspect shot the trooper in the right shoulder, and was “getting the better of the trooper” in a fight that immediately followed.
Milstead said the suspect was on top of the trooper, striking his head on the pavement, when a man traveling westbound on I-10 with his wife in the car pulled over to help the trooper.
The man grabbed a gun from his car and shot the suspect after the suspect refused to stop attacking the trooper, Milstead said. The suspect died as a result of the shooting and the man called for help using the trooper’s radio.
In a news conference from the hospital where the trooper is being cared for, Milstead thanked the man who stopped to help.
Police did not say whether the initial shooting call was connected to the attack on the trooper.
The investigation is ongoing and the identities of the trooper and suspect have yet to be released.