GILBERT, AZ — The Gilbert police officer critically injured last week during a pursuit is responding well to treatment in the ICU, according to the Gilbert police chief.
Officer Rico Aranda suffered a severe head injury when the suspect, 25-year-old Jonathon Altland, tried to steal a car and struck Aranda's car. Chandler police officer Christopher Farrar was also struck and killed.
Aranda was in critical condition. On Monday, Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg tweeted that they're hopeful in a few days, Aranda will be transferred out into neurological treatment and recovery.
"We are encouraged by Gilbert Police Officer Rico Aranda's recovery progress. We are happy to report that he is responding well to treatment and we expect him to be transferred within a couple days out of ICU and into neurological treatment and recovery...— Gilbert Police Chief (@GilbertPDChief) May 3, 2021
Sunday, the Gilbert Police Leadership Association teamed up with Sweetz Cold Brew Co. in Gilbert for a pop-up fundraiser for Aranda's family. In total, they raised more than $10,000. Half will go to Officer Aranda's family and the other half to another Gilbert officer who's battling leukemia.
"It was amazing, honestly, unreal. We knew there was going to be a lot of people, but we had no idea that amount of outpouring love and support from our community that would actually show up," said the shop owner Emily Barton.
Barton said they were so busy, the shop ran out of ice a few times.
"We had a line around the back of the building from 9 a.m. until almost 4 p.m., it was awesome."
The official GoFundMe page for Aranda's family is close to reaching its $100,000 goal.
"At least there's a little bit we can do to take that pressure off. On the flip side, our community is amazing. All you have to do is ask," said Barton.
Steven Gilbert from the Gilbert Police Leadership Association said Aranda's wife has been by the officer's side at the hospital. They have two sons who are 8 and 2 years old.
Gilbert said Aranda is improving and has been able to get up and walk.
Barton said she hopes his family knows the love and support they have from his community and beyond.
"We had officers from other departments, their families, a ton of firefighters here, their families and then really just the general public, we had some families that drove down from Prescott," said Barton.