DPS officer shot in Payson identified as Seth Meeske

PAYSON, AZ - Department of Public Safety officials have identified the officer who was shot during a routine traffic stop in Payson Saturday night.

Officials say 39-year-old Officer Seth Meeske was shot multiple times by 22-year-old Cody Archuleta of Tempe just after 10 p.m.

Cook said Archuleta started shooting at Meeske through the car window as the officer approached.

Officials say Meeske was shot in the forearm, left leg and in the back of his vest.

Archuleta then fled the scene traveling northbound. Another officer, on his first night in the field, happened to be in the area and witnessed the suspect run a red light.

Officers with DPS, the Payson Police Department and deputies with the Gila County Sheriff's Office chased the suspect for 40 miles along State Route 87.

Cook said Archuleta stopped in a field and more gunfire was exchanged. He said eventually the suspect shot and killed himself. A gun was found in Archuleta's vehicle and other evidence was found that gives more insight into the shooting, but officials aren't releasing specific information at this time.

Meeske managed to drive himself to a nearby hospital, where he was airlifted to a Phoenix hospital.

Cook said Sunday morning that Meeske is in stable condition and out of surgery.

"He is in good spirits and expected to survive," Cook tweeted Sunday.

"The fact that we've got people getting shot and then taking themselves to the hospital that says a lot," Cook said. "If they're willing to do that for themselves and they're in a career to help others, it can only offer comfort to the people in those communities to know these are the types of people looking out for them."

Meeske's friends say they aren't surprised to hear he took his life into his own hands.

Retired Payson High School football Coach Max Foster said Meeske was "determined to beat the odds."

"He was 140 and trying to play football," said Foster.

"When they told me he drove himself with three bullet wounds, I can understand because he's not a kid that quits. He fights through everything," he said.

Meeske not only grew up in Payson, but has spent the last 14 years protecting this community.

Everyone in Payson is anxiously waiting for him to come home.




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