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PHX officer still critical after being shot 8 times at apartment complex

Suspect faces attempted murder charge in shooting
Tyler Moldovan
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essa williams court appearance.jpg
Essa Williams.jpg
Posted at 4:08 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 13:15:57-05

PHOENIX — A Phoenix police officer who was shot multiple times on Tuesday, December 14 remains in a hospital in critical condition after responding to a call.

Phoenix Chief Jeri Williams said 22-year-old Officer Tyler Moldovan was searching an apartment complex around 2 a.m. while investigating a report of a vehicle driving erratically and "doing donuts" near 19th Avenue and Camelback Road.

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Phoenix Police Department Officer Tyler Moldovan

Police said the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Essa Williams, was found hiding on the patio of an apartment before he pulled out a gun and shot at Officer Moldovan.

Sgt. Vincent Cole, a spokesperson for Phoenix police, told reporters at an afternoon press conference that Moldovan remains at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in critical condition. He did not have any further updates on the officer's status.

Following the shooting, Williams was taken into police custody. Police said officers did not fire their weapons during the situation.

According to court paperwork, Williams shot Officer Moldovan up to eight times, including once in the head.

Officer Moldovan was wearing his body-worn camera, though the video remains part of the investigation, Cole said.

Cole said Essa Williams is facing attempted murder, weapons, and resisting arrest charges in connection with the shooting.

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Mugshot of Essa Williams

According to Chief Williams, Moldovan joined the police department a year and a half earlier and recently became a solo officer. He is also recently married.

"Tyler is doing exactly what we expect our police officers to do, and that's fight, and that's continue to fight," she said Tuesday morning.

Christine Sanez lives at a nearby apartment complex close to where Officer Tyler Moldovan was shot.

“I’m hoping to God that boy comes out okay. And we’ll pray for him,” Sanez tells ABC15.

Sanez has lived off 15th Ave and Camelback Road for two years. She says she heard the gunshots clearly.

German Lopez, also lives in the complex. He was stunned to hear Officer Moldovan’s age.

“22? He’s younger than me. I’m 25. I’m so sorry for the family of the officer, it’s terrible,” says Lopez.

Since the shooting, neighbors and support groups have tied blue ribbons in support of Officer Moldovan.

“I hope he makes it, Lopez said. “I hope he really makes it.”

A candlelight vigil is expected to be held for Officer Moldovan and his family on Tuesday, December 21 at 6 p.m. at Marshall Ranch's community Christmas tree, located at 57th Avenue and Aster Drive in Glendale.

During a court appearance Tuesday night, a prosecutor told a judge that Essa Williams had shot Phoenix police officer Tyler Moldovan multiple times and "continued shooting" after the young officer fell to the ground.

Williams then reportedly fought backup officers when they tried to take him into custody.

The prosecutor added Williams has nine prior felonies committed on four separate incidents. He was on probation when the offenses were committed, according to the prosecutor tonight.

Williams is facing multiple charges that include attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.

A $3 million cash bond has been set for the shooting involving the Phoenix police officer and will be held without bond on a probation violation case.

His next court appearance is scheduled for December 21 at 1:30 p.m.