WHITE MOUNTAIN APACHE RESERVATION, Ariz. — A man shot and killed one police officer and injured another Thursday evening in a shootout that also claimed his life on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona, authorities said.
Update 4:10 p.m. EDT June 3: Officials identified the officer slain Thursday evening as White Mountain Apache Police Officer Adrian Lopez Sr., 35. He had joined the department in January and is survived by his wife and child, Brian Swanty, chief deputy of the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office said.
Officials said a man identified as Kevin Dwight Nashio, 25, shot and killed Lopez after the officer pulled him over for a traffic stop in Whiteriver. Nashio stole Lopez’s police car and led officers on a 40-mile pursuit through “very rugged and rural areas” of the White Mountain Apache Reservation before he crashed into a tree, Swanty said.
During the chase and after, Swanty said officers were engaged in a “rolling gun battle” with Nashio. During the “chaotic event,” Sgt. Lonnie Thompson was injured and Nashio was shot and killed.
Authorities said Thompson remained hospitalized in Phoenix on Friday. His injuries were “not considered to be life-threatening, but they certainly can be debilitating,” Swanty said.
Officials declined to say what prompted Thursday’s traffic stop. Authorities continue to investigate.
Original report: In a Friday news release, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office said the incident began shortly after 7 p.m. during a traffic stop in Whiteriver. A White Mountain Apache police officer was shot and killed during an altercation with the suspect, who fled in the officer’s vehicle, deputies said in a news release.
Officers pursued the suspect through the reservation to the Hawley Lake area, according to the release. The suspect and officers then exchanged fire, deputies said. The suspect was killed, and a wounded officer was flown to a hospital near Phoenix, the release said.
The names of the officers and suspect were not immediately available. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now in charge of the case, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The White Mountain Apache Tribe said in a statement that it is “indebted to our Police Department and EMS for their prompt and courageous response, and grateful for the assistance rendered by our neighboring jurisdictions.” The tribe also offered prayers to the officers’ families and first responders.
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