PHOENIX - Authorities say a Phoenix police officer is in critical condition after being shot by a robbery suspect.
A 63-year-old man who tried to help was also shot and wounded in the shooting around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
In a press conference Tuesday night, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio confirmed the wounded man is a Vietnam war veteran and a volunteer posse member.
Police say two suspects are in custody and they're searching for up to four more including two women.
The shooting occurred after an armed robbery in an IHOP restaurant parking lot near 44th Street and Thomas Road.
Police say the suspected robbers were in a car chase with police that ended in a crash near 56th Street and Thomas Road.
They say one of the suspects wrestled a gun away from a policeman and shot the officer and a truck driver who tried to help.
"I looked back and I saw him. The police officer was lying on the ground and he took one shot at the cop," said Charles Parke who watched the scene unfold.
The names of the officer, truck driver and suspects in custody haven't been released yet.
Police spokesman Tommy Thompson said the officer is a 7-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department who is married with children.
Authorities said the officer underwent surgery Tuesday that lasted more than four hours.
Officials say both the officer and civilian are in critical condition at this time.
Thompson said the officer had a ride-along passenger with him when the shooting occurred. Authorities said the passenger is a family member of another officer and was not hurt.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and other high ranking members of the Phoenix Police Department were seen visiting the officer and posse member at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center Tuesday afternoon.
"Police work is a very, very dangerous business and incidents like this really bring it home. On a night when everybody is out thinking about celebrating and bringing in a New Year, we are unfortunately waiting here at the hospital hoping for the best for one of our officers," said Harry Markley with the Phoenix Police Department.
Because they are still searching for more suspects, police are asking everyone in the area from 44th to 56th Street and Thomas to McDowell Roads to lock their doors and not answer it unless it is an officer.
Police are asking anyone who sees anything unusual to call 911.
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