NewsSoutheast Valley NewsTempe News


Family of retired ASU officer killed in hit-and-run speaks out

Albert Phillips family of former asu officer struck and killed
Posted at 9:54 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 14:02:11-05

TEMPE, AZ — A family is demanding justice in the hit-and-run death of a retired Arizona State University police sergeant.

Al Phillips' family spoke with ABC15 as Tempe police search for the driver responsible.

The hit-and-run happened near Mill and Forest Avenues outside Kiwanis Park.

The bend next to Kiwanis Park is a place Albert Phillips knew very well. Family says they could never imagine a driver would slam a car into the former ASU officer and leave him there on the ground.

"You know you hit them. To leave the scene? I think you are a coward. Who else knows what was going on in their life,” said the victim’s wife, Donna Phillips.

Life, until last Friday, was good for Donna Phillips.

"Every morning, at 6:00 a.m., my alarm clock would go off because I would work from home. I could hear the door shut,” said Phillips.

Al would go, as he did for years, walk with friends at Kiwanis Park. This time, the retired ASU officer did not come back.

"I saw him here. The only thing you could do is call 911 immediately,” said Judith Candiani.

Candiani made the call.

"When I saw him on the floor. I knew, immediately, it was the guy that walks every single morning,” added Candiani.

Police say the man, who hit Al, drove away from the scene.

"He stole my husband's life. He left us without a beautiful person in our life during the holidays," added Phillips.

Donna, along with her two sons, are resilient. One memory with Al, for all, is watching sports as a family.

"That, I will miss, because he has opinions and he's very passionate about the Cardinals and the Suns,” added Phillips.

His other team is the one with officers at Arizona State University.

"He was hands-on. He liked to help people. He was not a typical police officer," added Phillips.

Donna thanks the Sun Devil community for their support during her family's loss.

The Arizona State University Police Department released the following statement about Al Phillips' death.

The ASU Police Department is heartbroken over the sudden loss of retired Sgt. Al Phillips. From 1985 to 2012, he was a staple of our department, and beloved member of our community. Over his 27 year career, he touched many lives and left a lasting legacy that will never be forgotten.

As for the person who killed her husband?

"Man up. Do the right thing. Turn yourself in and deal with it. You did this. For the rest of your life, you're not going to be comfortable, you're going to be haunted,” added Phillips.

The family has created an online fundraiser for Phillips' funeral costs.