PHOENIX - Police have identified five suspects arrested in connection with an undercover drug operation that left a Chandler officer dead and two others injured.
Thadika Singleton, John Webber, Doarnell Jackson, Jerry Cockhearn and Eldridge Gittens were taken into custody Wednesday evening.
Police said the men were each charged Thursday with three counts of first-degree murder plus other charges, including possession of marijuana for sale. A sixth suspect remains hospitalized and has not been charged.
The officer who was fatally shot has been identified as 34-year-old Carlos Ledesma.
Two other officers were also shot and transported to St. Joseph's Hospital, said Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos. Police said one officer has been released from the hospital and the other is now in stable condition.
Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler said all the officers were married and have children.
Martos said officers were conducting the undercover operation at a home in the area of 23rd Avenue and Vineyard Road just after 6:30 p.m. The shooting occurred inside that home.
The officers involved reportedly returned fire and two suspects were killed at the scene.
Police said the three Chandler officers were trying to buy a large quantity of marijuana, but it is unclear what went wrong in course of the undercover operation.
They say they're investigating the possibility that the drug dealers planned to rob the officers.
Phoenix police shut down the area as officers searched for six additional suspects just before sunset.
Neighbor David Mills who lives across the street from the home said he was scared after hearing the gunfire.
"It sounded like fireworks," he said.
Worried for his safety, the father of six ran in and called police. He then saw two suspects with guns flee the home.
Martos said the six suspects, including five black males and one Hispanic male all between the ages of 25 and 40, were questioned by Phoenix Police Homicide Detectives.
Two of the six suspects detained were taken to area hospitals. One was transported for minor breathing problems and the second sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, according to Martos. That suspect was still in the hospital Thursday.
Kiyler said at a news conference, "The events of last night are a reminder of the challenges faced by law enforcement."
Chandler Police Department has asked for donations to be made to Wells Fargo Account #9918672768.
Find out how you can donate to the 100 Club of Arizona , which provides financial assistance to families of public safety officers and firefighters who are seriously injured or killed in the line-of-duty, and to provide resources to enhance their safety and welfare.
The City of Chandler said on Twitter that "in light of last night's tragic Chandler police shooting, [Friday's] All America City Community Celebration has been canceled."
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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