Police say a man who allegedly stole a produce truck and was involved in multiple crashes in south Phoenix Wednesday was shot by an officer at one of the crash scenes.
The 31-year-old suspect was driving a produce truck when he ran a red light on 32nd Street and Southern Avenue and hit a van, officials said. The box truck overturned in the roadway and the suspect managed to climb out of the truck and steal a Good Samaritan’s pickup truck.
The Good Samaritan stopped to help after seeing the accident, a police spokesperson said. Before getting out of his truck, the man took his keys with him and the suspect was unable to drive away. Instead, the suspect locked himself in the truck and when police officers arrived at the scene they blocked him in and began negotiating with him.
According to authorities, the suspect eventually got out of the truck and allegedly pointed a handgun at officers. In response to the alleged threat, one officer shot at the suspect.
A witness to the situation pulled out his phone and started to record right away.
“I take my phone and start recording and I see the door open a little and all of a sudden a guy jumps out with a gun," said Harvey Sotelo. “I was crazy -uhh - I didn’t expect that to happen. I expected the guy to get out and give himself up."
It was later discovered that the man was armed with a replica gun, officials confirmed.
The suspect was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.. As of Thursday afternoon, he remained hospitalized.
“I feel for the guy that got shot... I feel for the officer who had to make that split decision and shoot him,” Sotelo said.
During the investigation, officials found that the produce truck was stolen from the area of Central and Monroe avenues earlier Wednesday, police said.
The suspect is also accused of rear-ending another car near 48th Street and Broadway Road. While allegedly attempting to drive away from that scene he backed into another car, authorities said.
Aside from the suspect, no other injuries were reported, police said. An investigation is ongoing.