Fallen Phoenix police officer identified as Det. John Hobbs

PHOENIX - Phoenix police described their fallen detective, who died after a Monday shooting, as a "well-rounded, respected and professional" police officer in a Tuesday morning news conference.

Det. John Hobbs, 43, served in the Phoenix Police Department for 21 years.

He leaves behind a wife and three children, ages 10, 8 and 6.

The shooting that led to his death happened Monday afternoon at 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

The suspect, identified as 28-year-old William Thornton, was wanted on a felony warrant, according to police. He was released from prison in January and became a suspect in an attempted murder in February.

Police said the detectives initially located Thornton near 39th Avenue and Camelback Road around 3:15 p.m.

Thornton realized he was under surveillance and a short pursuit took place, police said.

The detectives followed Thornton to 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road where he was involved in a crash with an 83-year-old woman and a man in his 50s at the intersection just before the shooting ensued.

The victims in the crash suffered minor injuries.

Police said Thornton immediately started shooting at the detectives after getting out of his car and hiding behind bushes.

The detectives were getting out of their vehicle at the time.

Thornton was on the passenger side of the detectives' vehicle, and his gunfire struck Hobbs and his partner, police said.

Hobbs reportedly returned fire after he was wounded and shot Thornton numerous times.

Hobbs' partner, who was shot during the incident, has not been identified at the request of the family.

The 37-year-old detective has served in the Phoenix Police Department for nine years and is also a part of the Major Offenders Bureau.

He is currently listed in critical but stable condition.

A third detective was not hurt. Police said he approached the scene from a different direction to cut Thornton off. 

He also fired at Thornton when he saw the suspect shooting at the other detectives, according to police. Thornton died at the scene.

The detectives involved were not wearing bulletproof vests at the time, police said.

Stay with abc15.com and ABC15 Mobile for updates.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments