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BODYCAM VIDEO: Suspect arrested after shooting Cottonwood police officer

Posted at 10:25 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 01:53:42-04

COTTONWOOD, AZ — Officials have released body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting earlier this week in Cottonwood.

Citizens in the area reported that a man was threatening people and acting erratically around 7:22 a.m. Wednesday. Members of the Mobile Behavioral Crisis Team were called to the scene near 15th and Birch streets to evaluate the man, later identified as 57-year-old Jeffrey John Thomas.

Crews determined they needed to file and serve a petition that would authorize Thomas to be detained. When they attempted to serve the order, Thomas refused to exit his home and officials then left the scene, planning to return later that evening.

Officials say at around 7:45 p.m., officers responded to a call of a man charging at vehicles passing by.

When officials arrived on scene, they found Thomas hiding behind a bush, holding what was believed to be a flagpole. Thomas reportedly fled and began making erratic statements, saying officers were going to "kill" him.

As officers followed, it was discovered that Thomas was carrying a shotgun with "what appeared to be a makeshift flag."

Police say Thomas opened fire, hitting Officer Matt Strickland in the arm.

Cottonwood police on Thursday released body worn camera footage of the incident. Video of the altercation is embedded below. *Viewer discretion advised.*

Cottonwood officer shot 5/6

Thomas was later taken into custody, within an hour of Verde Valley SWAT responding to the scene.

Officer Strickland, who has served with Cottonwood police for six years, sustained non-life threatening injuries, and is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Officials say Thomas' actions leading up the shooting indicate he intended to ambush the officers who arrived on scene.

The Department of Public Safety's Major Crimes Unit will be conducting the investigation.

Thomas was booked and charged with attempted murder in= the second degree, endangerment, aggravated assault on law enforcement, aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center in Camp Verde and is currently being held on a $500,000 bond.