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Crime spree ends with police shooting in Buckeye

Shooting in Buckeye 12-23-19
Shooting in Buckeye 12-23-19
Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 12:20:01-05

BUCKEYE, AZ  — Officials confirm the suspect in an officer-involved shooting in Buckeye is the kidnapping and barricade suspect who escaped from police Sunday night.

Police say a Buckeye police officer was on his way home and noticed someone who looked like the suspect, 33-year-old Christopher Mendoza, walking near Verrado Way and Watkins, just south of Lower Buckeye Road.

The officer called for backup and was able to set up a perimeter with other officers.

Police say Mendoza tried to break-in to a home nearby, but was unsuccessful so he stole a pest control vehicle with the keys inside.

Officers surrounded the vehicle and Mendoza drove towards officers while making suicidal statements with a gun pointed at his head, police said.

Authorities reportedly told Mendoza to stop and drop his gun, but he refused.

Officers fired several rounds at Mendoza who then crawled out of the truck. Officers gave first aid to Mendoza before he was airlifted to the hospital. He remains in critical condition, officials said Tuesday.

One officer suffered minor injuries, but is expected to be okay, according to police.

Authorities attempted to track down Mendoza earlier Monday afternoon following tips and sightings across Avondale and Surprise.

He was wanted after entering a Goodyear Walmart while armed, forcing the evacuation of the store.

This is the second officer-involved shooting reported in the Valley Monday. Earlier in the day, Phoenix police shot a suspect who opened fire and wounded two people outside Desert Sky Mall.

This is a developing story. Stay with ABC15 News and abc15.com for updates.