The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported that 20-year-old Marcus Gishal was killed after allegedly initiating an officer-involved shooting on West Topeka Avenue in Flagstaff on Wednesday night.
The second suspect, Preston Oszust, 20, was also shot and taken to the Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of critical injuries, the department reports. Both suspects are residents of Flagstaff, DPS reported Thursday afternoon.
The officer involved in the shooting was shot in the left hand, and taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.
Christine Cantu, a resident of Alaska Avenue located one street north of West Topeka Avenue, explained that she just moved to the area and loves it for its kind neighbors and tranquility.
"It's a safe place," Cantu said. "I never thought in my life that this would happen here."
The traffic stop
DPS reports that at 7:42 p.m., officers attempted to stop a black SUV for a traffic violation. The driver allegedly stopped in the Maverik gas station located at the intersection of South Thompson Street and West Route 66.
Once the officer exited his vehicle, DPS alleges the driver sped from the scene in the black SUV in the direction of Railroad Springs Boulevard.
The officer did not chase the vehicle, instead coordinating a search perimeter including additional DPS officers, Flagstaff Police Department officers and a DPS helicopter crew to search for the suspect. The responding agencies searched for more than an hour.
Once in the Railroad Springs neighborhood, the driver and passenger allegedly abandoned the SUV and fled on foot, DPS reports.
Around 8:44 p.m., a resident called 911 to report the location of the suspects. According to DPS, almost 10 minutes later, the suspects were located in front of a residence on West Topeka Avenue. As the DPS officers approached the suspects, Gishal pointed a handgun at the officers and opened fire, striking one of the officers in the hand.
Officers on the scene returned fire and struck Gishal, while the second suspect, Oszust, was also shot in the firefight. Gishal was pronounced deceased on the scene while Oszust was taken to the hospital with "critical injuries," DPS reports.
DPS reports that three other officers were involved in the shooting, but were uninjured.
DPS officers blocked off West Topeka Avenue below Railroad Springs Boulevard to investigate the crime scene. A witness who lives in the neighborhood reported they heard several shots shortly during the firefight.
When the shots outside her window erupted, Cantu and her daughter dropped to the floor.
"I was worried about my neighbors and bullets coming through their houses as well. I was worried for my daughter's safety," Cantu said.
Cantu said she was anxious about the shooting and reached out to her neighbors. She explained that they were all anxious and just looking to know more about what happened.
Her anxiety even led to her having trouble sleeping Wednesday night.
"It can happen anywhere," Cantu said. "It doesn’t mean anything if you live in the best neighborhood, this stuff can just happen."
Multiple law enforcement vehicles responded to the area and blocked traffic in the tight neighborhood streets. The area was still blocked off Thursday as officers continued their investigations.
Flagstaff police officers characterized the response as a "heavy police presence" during the investigation.
DPS reports that Oszust has an active felony warrant for a probation violation.
Past arrest records allege that Gishal was contacted by DPS officers in 2017 for a traffic stop. The officer attempted to arrest Gishal on drug-related charges, but DPS alleged that Gishal resisted, causing a fight.
Gishal was eventually taken into custody with marijuana, a handgun and other drugs in his possession after the November 2017 incident.
The incident is still under investigation and more information will be provided as it becomes available.