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Officer, Suspect Killed In Phoenix Gunbattle

Officer, Suspect Killed In Phoenix Gunbattle

Arizona Republic via YellowBrix

May 02, 2011

PHOENIX – Authorities were still searching Sunday for a third man wanted in the slaying of one Buckeye police officer and the critical wounding of another during a gunbattle at a west Phoenix swap meet.

Officer Rolando Tirado was killed and Officer Christopher Paz was in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds after an altercation with three men escalated into a gunfight at 1800 S. 35th Ave. early Sunday, Phoenix police said.

One suspect was killed and another was in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson. The third man fled the scene, he said.

The dispute began about 1:15 a.m. when the two officers, working off duty as security, contacted the occupants of a vehicle that was reported to have been driving recklessly on the property, said Buckeye police Lt. Jared Griffith.

“A gunbattle took place,” Griffith said. “Unfortunately, one of the officers was killed in the shootout and one of the suspects was also killed.”

Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck said he was praying for the officers’ families. “My thoughts and prayers are with the officers, their families and our police personnel,” Meck said.

Thompson said, “Anytime an officer dies, it tears at the core of our community,” adding, “If a person is willing to shoot at an officer, they are certainly willing to shoot at a member of the community.”

Tirado, an 11-year police veteran, was a married father of two children. Paz started with the Buckeye Police Department 4 1/2 years ago, Griffith said.

Tirado’s death is the Buckeye department’s first fatality of 2011, according to records.

Police said they would release the names of the suspects late Sunday or early today.

Thompson said the two officers were working the security detail at a business called El Gran Mercado. Such moonlighting is common for police officers.

The location is known for hosting events, such as concerts or dancing, but it was unclear what was being hosted Saturday night and early Sunday, Thompson said.

The swap meet, where beer is sold, was the scene of a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office raid in September 2009. More than 200 deputies and posse members converged on the market and arrested 53 people, including 10 vendors. Of those arrested, 24 were illegal. Authorities also seized thousands of bootleg DVDs said to be worth more than $100,000.

Every day across Maricopa County, hundreds of police officers work off duty to help pay bills, buy Christmas gifts or save for their children’s college education, Thompson said.

It was unclear why Buckeye officers were working the Phoenix security detail instead of Phoenix officers. It was also not known whether other off-duty officers were on the scene, Thompson said.

“Investigators are on the scene meticulously combing evidence to determine what led up to a deadly gunbattle,” he said.

Tirado’s slaying came a day before the 38th Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Service. It is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the state Capitol.

The event honors officers who died in the line of duty in 2010 and puts their names on a plaque. Those slain last year were Officer Carlos Ledesma, Chandler Police Department; Officer Travis Murphy, Phoenix Police Department; Deputy Brian Harris, Kane County (Utah) Sheriff’s Office, killed while pursuing a fugitive from Utah into Arizona; and Agents Michael Gallagher and Brian Terry of the U.S. Border Patrol.

  • Kevlar_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP May God be with your family and your Department.

  • Good_ole_days_max50


    over 3 years ago


    "It was unclear why Buckeye officers were working the Phoenix security detail instead of Phoenix officers."
    Because it is cheaper, that is why.
    Officers should always remember it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
    This B.S. will stop when the media and public get out of the way and let officers do their jobs. I think that people who go to I.A. and falsely accuse officers should be charged and placed under arrest. God Bless the families of every officer fallen or not.

  • 12235_sq90_max50


    over 3 years ago


    GOD be with our Brother and his family and friends Praying for our Brother Officer who is fighting for his life.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    God, we just buried a cop on Friday here in Oregon. When is this going to stop!? Citizens do not realize that we are less likely to take the need level of force today because of the fear of getting sued. So instead, we hesitate and than bamm! One or more of us is DEAD!! How many now this year, 60? 70? 100? This is a truly horrible year for police!

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest In Peace Officer Rolando Tirado, may the good Lord comfort your family and friends. Best wishes and prayers for Officer Christopher Paz to make a full recovery. I hope that the third suspect is caught quickly and brought to harsh justice.

  • 1979_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP my brother and God Bless and keep your family and friends during this very difficult time. Your name will always be remembered as a hero.
    More prayers to our brother officer who was gravely wounded in this gunbattle. May your recovery be quick and complete. You did a great job and because you and your partner did not give up one of your killers was himself killed and another seriously wounded. Your brothers WILL get the third suspect and justice will be done. Get better my brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace brother and I pray for a speedy recovery to officer Paz.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Officer Tirado. Prayers for a full and speedy recovery for officer Paz.

  • Meangreen01_max50


    over 3 years ago


    RIP brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    RIP officer...i hate reading stories like this especially when the hospital is treating one POS to try and keep him alive. I pray the second officer pulls through and they catch the 3rd POS and fry all three of them.

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