WHITERIVER, AZ — A tribal officer is dead and another hospitalized after a shooting with a suspect in Whiteriver, Arizona, south of Pinetop and Show Low.
Officials are providing an update on the incident at noon. Watch live in the player below.
Just after 7 p.m. Thursday, a White Mountain Apache Police officer was making a traffic stop on East Fork Road when an altercation between the officer and driver occurred.
Officials say that's when the officer was shot and killed. He has been identified as 35-year-old Officer Adrian Lopez. He is survived by one child. A GoFundMe has been created to help family with expenses.
"Last night a wife lost her husband, children lost their father," said the Tribal Chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tibe, Kasey Velasquez.
"The community does not know what it feels like to lose an officer," said Johnathan Daylish, Sr.
Daylish told ABC15 Officer Lopez recently came to his house and helped his family.
He says people are hurting and these officers are part of their community.
The suspect took the officer's patrol vehicle and left the scene with White Mountain Apache Police officers in pursuit.
The pursuit traveled about 40 miles through a very remote area of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation to the Hawley Lake area.
At this location, officials say there was a gun battle between the suspect and officers.
One officer was struck by gunfire. He has been identified as 29-year-old Lonnie Thompson.
Thompson was flown to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries is unknown, however, Navajo County Sheriff's Office officials say they are non-life-threatening.
The suspect was killed during the incident. He has been identified as 25-year-old Kevin Dwight Nashio of Whiteriver.
Officers from multiple agencies assisted during the incident, including White Mountain Apache Game Rangers, San Carlos Apache Game Rangers, Pinetop-Lakeside Police Department, Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, Apache County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is handling the investigation.
Following the shooting, the White Mountain Apache Tribe released the following statement:
The Tribe is indebted to our Police Department and EMS for their prompt and courageous response, and grateful for the assistance rendered by our neighboring jurisdictions. Our prayers, tonight, are with the families of those officers involved, and with all of our first responders.
Navajo County Sheriff David Clouse released the following statement:
The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office would like to express our deepest sympathy for the loss of the White Mountain Apache Police Officer and the Officer that was injured serving their community today.