PHOENIX (AP) — A manhunt for multiple suspects was underway in the Phoenix area Wednesday after an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer was shot and wounded during a traffic stop and responding officers got into a shootout, authorities said.
The shooting occurred just before 3 a.m. on or next to an Interstate 17 frontage road in Phoenix as the officer approached a car he stopped for extremely dark tinted windows, officials said.
The officer was shot in the face but was able to radio for help, law enforcement spokesmen said.
Other officers arrived a few minutes later, and shots were fired at them from the suspect vehicle. The officers returned fire.
The suspect vehicle left the area, but it might have damage including a possible a shot-out back window, the spokesmen said.
More than three people — believed to be young adults — were in the vehicle, said Bart Graves, Department of Public Safety spokesman.
The wounded officer was in serious condition at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. His name was not released.
Electronic message boards on Phoenix-area freeways displayed “blue alert” messages describing the suspect vehicle as a blue Mercury Sable with Kansas license plate 887-GAM.
“We’ve got officers everywhere; they’re all over the place,” said Officer James Holmes, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman.
Graves said authorities later Wednesday morning received reports of sightings of the vehicle in the eastern part of the Phoenix metro area. He declined to elaborate.
Anybody spotting the vehicle should call 911 but not approach the car, Holmes said.
“We have a DPS officer who is down and has been shot,” Holmes said. “Anyone willing to take a shot at a police officer is going to be a dangerous person.”
I-17 remained open after the shooting, but the frontage road and several nearby exit and entrance ramps were closed as police conducted their investigation.
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