PHX PD identify man arrested in church shootout

Posted at 2:53 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 16:53:02-05

Police have identified a man involved in a shootout in a church parking lot near I-17 and Northern Avenue last week.

On Monday November 23, 29-year-old Christopher Blankenship was spotted by an off duty Phoenix police officer outside a Valley business. When the officer approached, Blankenship ran away.

After calling for assistance, the officer made contact with the suspect in the parking lot of Freeway Baptist Church.

When the officer approached, the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired at the officer. Another officer who witnessed the shooting fired several shots at Blankenship. The first officer also returned fire.

After being hit in the knee and the left arm, Blankenship dropped his gun and was taken into custody.

A police investigation found six shell casings that belonged to the suspect's weapon. The two officers fired 13 shots at Blankenship.

Blankenship later admitted to police that he had taken methamphetamine about an hour earlier and it was not his intention to hurt anyone but wanted police to kill him.

He also admitted to being the man police were looking for after a shoplifting and aggravated assault at an Albertsons store two days earlier. In that incident he pulled the same handgun and pointed it at the loss prevention officer and fled.

Blankenship now faces charges of assault, aggravated assault on an officer, misconduct involving weapons (he was a prohibited possessor) and shoplifting.