Armed Citizen Saves Arizona State Trooper's Life, Shoots Suspect Dead
of a lonely interstate highway before dawn on Thursday January 12th 2017.
The trooper — a 27-year veteran who hasn't been identified but was reported as stable with gunshot wounds in his chest and right shoulder — was responding to reports that shots had been fired at about 4 a.m. (6 a.m. ET) on Interstate 10 about 40 miles west of Phoenix, Milstead said.
Described as an ambush-style attack, the trooper was attempting to block lanes of the highway when a man came up and shot him in the chest. A fight between the two then began on the ground.
A driver saw what was happening and tried to come to the aid of the trooper, who was asking for help. The suspect ignored the man’s commands to stop the attack, at which time the man went to his vehicle to retrieve his firearm.
"As the trooper exited his vehicle and began to lay out flares, it appears at this point that he was ambushed by the suspect," Milstead said. "In the initial confrontation, the suspect shoots the trooper in the shoulder [and] right chest area at least one time, possibly twice, disabling the use of the trooper's right hand and right arm."
The gunman then attacked the trooper with his hands, bashing his head into the pavement, Milstead said. That's when the passing motorist stopped.
"The trooper says, 'Please help me,' and asks the uninvolved third party for help," Milstead said. "That person retreats back to his vehicle, removes his own weapon from the vehicle, confronts the suspect, giving him orders to stop assaulting the officer. The suspect refuses. The uninvolved third party fires, striking and killing the suspect."
The hero driver was identified only as a man who was traveling to California with his wife.
A second motorist who also stopped at the scene ran to the trooper's vehicle, grabbed its radio and called for help.
"I would just say at this point, thank you, because I don't know that my trooper would be alive today without his assistance," Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said after he met with the seriously injured trooper at the hospital.
Not only did this armed citizen have the right mindset to stop the suspect, but he also kept a straight head after the shooting in order to utilize the trooper’s radio to make a direct call for help.
It’s an incredible story of bravery and the successful use of a firearm by an armed citizen to save a life.
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