A rookie Arizona cop has died after being shot in the face while investigating a domestic violence call, Flagstaff city officials confirm.
The shooting suspect is dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after Officer Tyler Stewart activated an emergency button alerting his patrol of a dire situation, police spokeswoman Sgt. Margaret Bentzon told the Arizona Republic.
The 24-year-old officer was new to the agency, having joined earlier this year. He was at a home investigating a report of domestic abuse.
It’s believed Stewart exchanged fire with the alleged gunman, Prescott resident Robert W. Smith, 28, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Attempts to get a verbal response from Stewart, shortly after the alert, failed, the Republic reported. He was found in critical condition and taken to Flagstaff Medical Center, but died of his injuries.
The death happened as Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway was out of the office until early next year, but he drafted a brief statement after news of Stewart’s death emerged.
“This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our officer,” Treadway wrote. “We are a very close-knit organization and know that all of the members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our officer, Tyler Stewart.”
Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours said his city is in mourning at the agency’s loss.
“It is heartbreaking to lose one of our officers. We collectively mourn for his family and the entire department,” Nabours wrote.
Police tape cordoned off the area where investigators were collecting evidence strewn along the 800 block of Clay Ave. It’s there several rounds were fired at Stewart before Smith shot himself, a statement from the city of Flagstaff read.
Flagstaff officers initially said another suspect was being sought in connection to the college town shooting where Northern Arizona University is located.
Stewart attended Concordia College in Irving, Calif., and graduated from Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Ariz.
With News Wire Services