PHOENIX (AP) — Two people were killed and five injured — including two police officers — when a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle and wearing tactical gear began a seemingly random attack in Phoenix on Sunday night before killing himself, authorities said.
Phoenix police identified the man on Monday as 24-year-old Isaiah Steven Williams. They said he was found to have a single gunshot wound to the head, consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound although the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death.
It wasn’t immediately clear Monday where Williams lived and if he had a criminal record.
Police said Williams was wearing a ballistic vest with steel plates in the front and back, a ballistic helmet, a gas mask and knee pads and was armed with a semi-automatic rifle along with several incendiary devices and multiple magazines for the rifle.
“Kevlar helmet, tactical vest, high-powered rifle – this individual was set on doing damage to our community,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Monday.
Police said they received a call about shots fired in the north-central part of the city around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
As officers arrived, a man immediately opened fire on several fully marked patrol SUVs. Four patrol cars were riddled with bullets. One officer was struck by a bullet in the shoulder and a second officer was hit by shrapnel in multiple places including the face.
Police said the officer wounded by shrapnel was able to get out of his car and return fire before other officers came to his aid to remove him from the area for medical treatment. Other officers began evacuating nearby businesses and bringing community members to a safe place.
The officer shot in the shoulder was hospitalized in stable condition, according to police.
Other officers began evacuating nearby businesses and bringing community members to a safe place.
Police said preliminary investigative information, along with surveillance video from nearby businesses, showed the suspect leaving a room at a motel in the area and begin shooting at random. The man was seen firing his rifle into the motel then turning the rifle on a car pulling into the parking lot.
A man and woman inside that car died on the scene from gunshot wounds, according to police who have not released the victims’ names yet.
The suspect also was seen throwing a Molotov cocktail at a restaurant window. It did not ignite. It was about that time that officers began to arrive and were fired upon.
Surveillance video shows the suspect making his way through the parking lot and then falling to the ground.
Three bystanders in various locations around the shooting scene were injured by flying gunfire, treated at hospitals and released.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives announced it is assisting in the investigation of the shootings.
“Once again, this is another example of gun violence in our community,” police Chief Jeri Williams said. “How many more officers have to be shot? How many more community members have to be killed before those in our community take a stand? This is not a Phoenix police issue, this is a community issue. If not now, when?”
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