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50 Officers Gave Chase in Phoenix Officer Killing

50 Officers Gave Chase in Phoenix Officer Killing

Gilbert Police Chief Tom Dorn, left, walks to the podium to talk about the events that led to the killing of Gilbert Police Officer Lt. Eric Shuhandler, during a news conference at police headquarters in Gilbert, Ariz. on Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. Taped to t

Washington Post via YellowBrix

January 30, 2010

GILBERT, Ariz. — Two men suspected in the fatal shooting of a policeman led dozens of Arizona law officers on a 50-mile midnight chase, but couldn’t shake pursuers despite firing bullets and spreading debris, officials said.

The suspects tossed out wrenches, other tools and an air compressor tank during the chase around midnight Thursday, police said. A half-dozen police cruisers were disabled after hitting debris or being struck by bullets.

Despite the lethal efforts, the numbers of law officers continued to grow even as damaged law enforcement vehicles dropped out and the officers inside hitched rides with fellow pursuers.

The chase ended near the small mountain mining community of Superior as violently as it began. The suspects jumped out and opened fire on police before falling to the ground in a hail of bullets. Both are expected to survive.

Authorities said the two men were initially pulled over by Gilbert police Lt. Eric Shuhandler, 42, near the southeast Phoenix suburb of Gilbert at about 11 p.m. on Thursday.

Shuhandler, a 16-year veteran, was shot in the face as he walked back toward the pickup after finding the passenger had an arrest warrant, said Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marino. Shuhandler, the father of two girls, was rushed to a hospital, where he died shortly before midnight.

The suspects were identified as Christopher A. Redondo, 35, of Globe, and Daimen Irizarry, 30, of Gilbert, Marino said. ad_icon

Redondo is believed to have been the gunman and Irizarry the driver who led officers from multiple law enforcement agencies on the pursuit.

“It is nothing short of a miracle that no officers or members of the public were injured or killed,” Gilbert Police Chief Timothy Dorn said Friday.

Shuhandler stopped the suspects’ work truck for having an obscured license plate, Marino said. Shuhandler went back to his patrol car and found that the passenger, Redondo, apparently had an arrest warrant. He called for backup and was walking back to the passenger side of the truck when he was shot, about 12 minutes after pulling two men over.

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