Officer-involved shooting shuts down Phoenix freeway ramp

PHOENIX - Police are looking for two suspects after a jewelry store robbery escalated into an officer-involved shooting Friday.

Police responded to a call of shots being fired at the store near 44th Street and Thomas Road just before 3 p.m.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos said a Hispanic male suspect entered the jewelry store and asked to view some of the merchandise on display.

He reportedly obtained some items and asked for more jewelry, but the employees did not provide any additional merchandise believing the suspect would flee with it.

One of the employees was able to lock the front door before the suspect made his escape, said Martos.

According to police, the suspect was unable to get out, retrieved a gun, and shot out the front window to the business.

He then reportedly climbed through the shattered front window.

A witness in the area was able to provide a description of the second suspect and their get-away vehicle, which fled the area.

Officers located the suspect vehicle in the area of 12th Street and Virginia. It was occupied by two Hispanic males.

Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver apparently failed to yield. Officers then initiated a pursuit.

The suspects reportedly fled through the neighborhood and made it to the southbound access road to State Route 51 at Thomas Road.

As officers rounded the corner, one of the suspects was leaning out the passenger side of the vehicle and was observed sitting on the passenger side door, said Martos.

Martos said this suspect fired multiple rounds from a shotgun at pursuing police officers. No citizens were injured.

An officer behind the suspect had to pull over after his Chevrolet Tahoe was struck by gunfire.

Rounds struck the front bumper and windshield of his vehicle. The officer sustained minor injuries.

The second police vehicle was not struck by gunfire, however due to a mechanical failure they were unable to continue their pursuit and stopped to render aid to the first officer.

Martos said the suspect vehicle continued southbound on SR 51 and was last seen in the area of the Loop 202 and 44th Street.

Officers later located the suspect vehicle, an older model Chevrolet Monte Carlo, abandoned near 44th and Van Buren streets.

A search of the area was conducted, but both suspects remained at large as of Friday night.

The shooting at the jewelry store narrowly missed a month and a half old baby in a truck.

Antoinette Loar was inside the nail salon next door at 44th Street and Thomas Road when she heard the shots. She soon realized that as it was all going on, her husband was pulling up in his truck with their newborn son inside the vehicle.

"Had he pulled into another space then it would have gone into the truck," she said. "It is amazing he is okay."

No one was injured. Loar's husband said the suspect took off on foot and that was the last he saw of him.

"It seems a bit extreme for him to do that for a couple necklaces," he said.

Police had advised drivers to avoid the southbound on ramp at Thomas Road on State Route 51.

The suspects are described as two Hispanic males. One is in his early 20s and the other is in his mid 20s.

Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Phoenix Police Department at 602.262.6141. If they wish to remain anonymous they can call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO.

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