PHOENIX - An officer-involved shooting at a north Phoenix nightclub early Saturday morning ended with one person dead and another suffering life-threatening injuries.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said it happened around 4 a.m. at the Hurricane Bay nightclub on Bell Road, just west of 43rd Avenue.
Thompson said two off-duty police officers were working security at the nightclub Saturday night.
One went home around 2 a.m. and the other stayed to provide security for the remaining two employees.
Just after 4 a.m. the officer, manager and an employee left the bar. Thompson said the officer had removed his uniform shirt and was wearing a black T-shirt, uniform pants and boots.
As the three walked into the parking lot they saw two people in the bed of the officer's pickup truck trying to remove a small refrigerator that was back there, Thompson said.
The two suspects fled and got into a 2002 GMC SUV which was near the pickup truck. Thompson said the officer and the two employees ran toward the SUV where they saw two suspects on the passenger side and the driver pointing guns at them.
The officer, who was armed with his service handgun, gave several commands for them to drop their weapons and identified himself as a police officer, Thompson said.
The car started to back up with the suspects still pointing their weapons at the officer and employees.
Thompson said the officer, feeling an "imminent deadly threat" to himself and the employees, fired multiple rounds at the suspects. He said the employee, who was also armed, hearing the gunfire and believing he was being fired at, also fired at the suspects. The manager was not armed and called 911.
The driver, identified as 24-year-old Tomas G. Ramirez Gonzalez, got out of the vehicle and collapsed a short distance away. He died at the scene, Thompson said.
The second suspect, a 28-year-old man, was taken to a local hospital with critical injuries.
Thompson said the third suspect admitted to shooting a rifle during the incident. He has been identified as 19-year-old Jose Luis Chacon.
Chacon has been booked into the Maricopa County Jail charged with first-degree murder during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and burglary.
While searching the suspects' vehicle, detectives found two handguns and two rifles, Thompson said.
The off-duty officer and employees of the club were not hurt.
Thompson said the case is being investigated both criminally and internally, which is standard for officer-involved shootings. The 43-year-old officer, a 20-year veteran of the department, will be placed on administrative leave, which is also standard procedure, according to Thompson.