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Man arrested after firing gun at Mesa police, fleeing into river

Chanceler J. Sandoval and Tobias Guy Thomas - Mesa police booking photos.jpg
Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 08, 2021

MESA — Authorities arrested a man early Monday morning after he fired a gun at officers and fled to a river on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Sometime after 2 a.m., a Mesa officer attempted to pull over a vehicle with a broken taillight, and the vehicle turned into an apartment complex near Country Club Drive and McKellips Road.

An individual inside the vehicle leaned out the passenger window and began firing a handgun at the officer, according to Mesa police.

The vehicle then left the complex with the officer in pursuit. According to police, the vehicle entered the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and stopped at the dead-end of a dirt road near the Verde River.

A man, identified by police as 34-year-old Chanceler Sandoval, fled the vehicle, while 33-year-old Tobias Thomas and a female passenger stayed in the vehicle.

Authorities from Mesa, DPS, MCSO, and Fort McDowell helped with the incident, taking Tobias and the woman into custody.

Around 3:20 a.m. an MCSO deputy made contact with Sandoval, who emerged from a river and surrendered.

Sandoval told authorities that he was recently released from prison and did not want to go back. He also told authorities that he was preparing for another shootout and had reloaded his handgun amid the pursuit.

The female passenger was interviewed and was released without being charged.

No officers were injured during the incident, but what appeared to be a bullet strike was located on the officer's car.

Sandoval was arrested on a total of ten charges, including six counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement, drive-by shooting, and more. Tobias was arrested on a total of three charges, including unlawful flight from law enforcement and aggravated DUI.