Flagstaff police have identified the armed man shot and killed by officers in the Plaza Vieja neighborhood Monday morning as a Tuba City resident.
According to Flagstaff Police Department, Verl Bedonie, 25, was fatally shot after he attempted to carjack a man at gunpoint near the intersection of South Park Street and West Phoenix Avenue shortly after 8 a.m.
Northern Arizona University Police Department officers requested assistance for a suspicious person carrying a weapon inside the High Country Conference Center, located near the southeast corner of West Butler Avenue and South Milton Road, at about 7:50 a.m. The suspect left the hotel but did not comply with officers' instructions to drop the weapon, which turned out to be a 9 millimeter handgun.
According to an FPD press release, the suspect pointed the gun at one of the officers as they pursued him through the Drury Inn parking lot. FPD's Cpl. Ben Sandoval and Officer Eric Tomperi responded by firing a total of five shots. All of them missed the suspect.
Officers followed the suspect from approximately 20 to 30 yards away as he crossed South Milton Road and entered the Plaza Vieja neighborhood. According to police, he pointed his gun at a taxi driver parked at a car wash on West Clay Avenue at one point. Police also believe he fired one round in an alley between South Florence Street and South Park Street.
An undercover officer in an unmarked vehicle saw the suspect get into the passenger side of a vehicle near the intersection of South Park Street and West Phoenix Avenue. According to FPD, the driver later told police the suspect pointed the gun at him and demanded to be taken to Phoenix.
The undercover FPD officer rammed the vehicle to prevent the suspect from fleeing in the car while the driver was being held hostage inside. The suspect then exited the vehicle and walked to the north side of the street.
Multiple officers told the suspect to put down his gun. Instead, according to FPD, the suspect raised his gun toward the officers and fired off one round. FPD Sgt. Collin Seay and NAUPD Officer Dillon Jenkins also fired an undisclosed number of shots, fatally striking the suspect. He was declared dead at the scene.
One of the officers' bullets pierced through the wall of a home behind the suspect in the 300 block of West Phoenix Avenue, striking a dog. An animal ambulance transported the wounded pet to a veterinarian. FPD officials said the dog was expected to recover after surgery.
1 p.m.: Flagstaff police say an armed man attempted to carjack an occupied vehicle before officers fatally shot him in the Plaza Vieja neighborhood.
According to an FPD press release, Northern Arizona University police officers requested assistance in dealing with a suspicious person carrying a weapon inside the High Country Conference Center near the southeast corner of West Butler Avenue and South Milton Road at about 7:50 a.m. The suspect left the hotel but did not comply with multiple officers' instructions to drop the weapon, which turned out to be a 9 millimeter handgun.
"The officers from Flagstaff Police Department recognized a deadly threat and discharged their weapons towards the suspect," according to the press release.
FPD has not provided specifics regarding the "deadly threat," nor have they said whether the suspect also fired or pointed his gun at anyone.
He then started walking toward South Milton Road. The suspect fired his gun in an as yet unspecified direction after armed police chased the suspect into the Plaza Vieja neighborhood.
He attempted to carjack a vehicle near the intersection of South Park Street and West Phoenix Avenue. An undercover FPD officer rammed the vehicle to prevent the suspect from fleeing in the car while the driver was being held hostage inside.
"The suspect got out of the vehicle and refused to comply with officers commands to drop the weapon and gun fire was exchanged and the suspect was mortally wounded," according to the press release.
The suspect, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
12:15 p.m.: An unidentified man was shot and killed by police during a confrontation in Flagstaff’s Plaza Vieja neighborhood Monday morning.
According to Flagstaff Police Department records, Northern Arizona University police officers requested assistance in dealing with a suspicious person carrying a weapon inside the Drury Inn at the southeast corner of West Butler Avenue and South Milton Road at about 7:50 a.m. The suspect was walking toward South Milton Road.
At about 8 a.m., an officer in the area reported a report of a fight involving a gun. The suspect was described as a Native male, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 160 pounds wearing a blue San Diego Chargers jersey. He was carrying an automatic pistol in his right hand. At 8:03, there was a report of shots fired.
FPD Sgt. Margaret Bentzen said it appears the suspect fired multiple bursts starting in the Southside area and then in Plaza Vieja while he was being pursued by police.
Tammy Linares was driving her children to school on South Milton Road when she heard the first burst of gunfire.
“When I heard the shots, I honestly thought maybe it was construction because it was loud,” she said.
After the third or fourth shot, she said, the suspect walked out onto South Milton Road right in front of her. He had a can in one hand and a gun in the other. Linares saw officers chasing the man with their guns drawn, shouting for him to stop. The suspect just stood in front of her car waiting for southbound traffic to clear.
“There was no expression on his face. Nothing,” Linares said. “All I could think was, ‘please just don’t shoot. If you want this car, just take the car, just don’t hurt my kids.’”
To Linares’ relief, the suspect crossed Milton Road and disappeared behind the Natural Grocers building. Linares pulled over.
“I didn’t know if he was going to turn around and start shooting so I just sat there,” she said. “I think I’m just shaken up and overwhelmed. I was born here. I’ve never had to deal with anything like that.”
All the schools in the area went on lockdown when the suspect passed into the Plaza Vieja neighborhood.
Police followed the suspect westbound on West Clay Avenue until he started running. He ran northbound on South Florence Street toward the railroad tracks.
“There’s a second series of shots fired at that point,” Bentzen said.
Armed officers chased the suspect through the neighborhood to South Park Street and West Phoenix Avenue. At 8:08 a.m., officers reported the suspect was down. Bentzen confirmed at least one officer shot the suspect.
He was dead at the scene. The deceased has not been identified.
Investigators are still assessing how many shots were fired and where they all went, but it does not appear that any officers or bystanders were shot.
“The only one that sustained injuries was the suspect,” Bentzen said.
The chase forced Flagstaff Unified School District schools to go on lockdown in the morning, district spokeswoman Karin Eberhard said.
Haven Montessori School, located on Clay Avenue and Malpais Lane, had about 24 students on campus in their before school program, school officials said.
A school employee at Haven Montessori heard gunshots in the area and called police, who told them to lock down the school. The lockdown interrupted regular drop off procedures at the school.
This is the second fatal officer-involved shooting in the Flagstaff area in less than a week. Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man in Doney Park in the early morning Saturday after a standoff with an armed suicidal man outside a home on Lumberjack Boulevard. Sheriff’s officials said deputies shot 31-year-old Mark Nelson when he pointed his gun at them.
A multi-agency team is investigating both shootings.
9:30 a.m.: An unidentified man was shot and presumed killed in a confrontation with police in Flagstaff this morning. It is unclear at this point whether the fatal shot came from officers or his own hand.
According to Flagstaff Police Department records, Northern Arizona University police officers requested assistance in dealing with a suspicious person carrying a weapon at the southeast corner of Butler Avenue and Milton Road at about 7:50 a.m.
At about 8, officers received a report of a fight involving a gun. At 8:03, there was a report of shots fired. Sgt. Margaret Bentzen said it appears the suspect fired multiple bursts starting in the Southside area and then in Plaza Vieja while he was being pursued by police.
He died from a gunshot wound at Park and Phoenix Avenue. No other injuries were reported. The deceased has not been identified.
The investigation is ongoing.
9 a.m. Breaking News: Shooting reported at Milton and Butler
Flagstaff commuters report a heavy police presence at the intersection of Milton and Butler including officers running with weapons drawn. A witness from the scene reported hearing shots, seeing a man with a handgun and police arriving in the empty lot in front of Natural Grocers. Another witness reported seeing police run by with weapons drawn and then hearing at least three shots fired.
No other information is available at this time.
Drivers are advised to avoid the intersection.
Stay tuned for updates.