Five Phoenix police officers were shot and four others wounded in a hail of bullets after a baby was apparently used as bait to lure them closer to a house during a five-hour standoff.
The incident started about 2:15 am Friday, when officers responded to a call that a woman had been shot, according to Sgt. Andy Williams, public information officer for the Phoenix Police Department, KNXV-TV reported.
Williams said the first officer who arrived on the scene was invited inside, but the suspect ambushed the officer and shot him several times. That officer retreated to safety as other officers surrounded the home and began calling out the occupants.
An unidentified adult male came out with a small baby. He left the baby on the porch and surrendered to the police. It’s unknown what role he played in the events leading up to the standoff.
When several officers moved forward to retrieve the baby, the gunman opened fire on them. Four officers were directly hit by the bullets and four others were struck by ricochets or shrapnel. The baby was reportedly unharmed and was in custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
The Daily Mail reported that after attempted negotiations, a SWAT team raided the home. Inside, they found the apparent gunman, Morris Jones III, who was dead. The critically wounded woman was taken to the hospital but later died.
KNXV posted a video of statements made by Williams, who provided updates on the case.
“At this time we believe this child is the child in common between the two deceased individuals,” he said.
“Of the five officers that were directly injured by gunfire, four of them remain in the hospital receiving treatment.”
One was reported to be in critical condition and three others were in serious condition.
Williams said the investigation still had far to go.
“The complexity and scale of this scene cannot be overstated. The detectives are prepared to work all through today, all through tonight, and into tomorrow before we even leave this scene, because we only have one chance to do it right, and we have to do it right.”
Pheonix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement, “I cannot recall an incident in city history where so many officers were injured. I’m incredibly proud of our Phoenix police department.”
Gallego, however, has not always shown such support for local police.
In October of 2020, AZ Central reported on tension between the mayor and police over a citizen’s review board designed to second-guess law enforcement actions and personnel. This idea was generated during the liberal-endorsed “defund the police” frenzy.
One of Gallego’s political challengers at the time, Merissa Hamilton, said the mayor had “undermined the good work of our police,” and created divisiveness with “anti-police rhetoric.”
Many have argued that anti-police sentiments have encouraged more police ambushes.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams expressed frustration at Friday’s news conference, according to ABC15. “If I seem upset, I am … It’s senseless and it continues to happen over and over again,” she said in a media briefing Friday morning.
Williams said the incident highlights the hazards of police work. “Police officers are always walking into tense, uncertain situations,” he said.
“We’re there to help people and we’re there to bring safety and we’re there to sometimes arrest people. … We rarely have all the information, or the information we do have is often not correct. … It just highlights the uncertainties and the dangers of this job.”
Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake provided a similar perspective: “This is a stark reminder of the dangers our men & women in blue face every day. Please keep these officers in your prayers.”
Last night five Phoenix Police Officers were shot in the line of duty while rescuing a baby during a standoff.
It appears all the officers will recover.
This is a stark reminder of the dangers our men & women in blue face every day. Please keep these officers in your prayers.
— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) February 11, 2022
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also published a Twitter post asking for prayers for the officers.
Please continue to pray for the five @PhoenixPolice officers injured this morning. Our men and women in blue work day and night—no matter the circumstances—to protect our state from danger. Their unwavering courage & sacrifice helps to keep us safe. Arizona is deeply grateful. 1/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) February 11, 2022
“Our men and women in blue work day and night—no matter the circumstances—to protect our state from danger,” he wrote. “Their unwavering courage & sacrifice helps to keep us safe. Arizona is deeply grateful.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.