PHOENIX (AP) — Police on Thursday commended the actions of citizens who offered help after an officer and another man were shot following the armed robbery of $18,000 from employees of a strip club.
Two men were eventually arrested after Tuesday afternoon's shooting, which erupted when the suspects' vehicle crashed while trying to flee.
The wounded Phoenix police officer was identified Thursday as Scott Sefranka, 34, a married, seven-year veteran of the force. Both Sefranka and the other man, a 63-year-old who is a volunteer member of the Maricopa County sheriff's posse, remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the posse member is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War with extensive combat training.
"I'm proud that he saw the situation and he ran to help out the Phoenix police officer," Arpaio said Thursday, explaining that the man's family asked that he not be publicly identified.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia called the officer and the civilian "courageous" while commending citizens in the area who offered assistance after the shooting. So many people came forward, Garcia said, that police had to use a city bus to transport them for questioning.
Roger Allen Sharp Jr., 26, of Phoenix, was being held on suspicion of attempted murder, burglary, unlawful flight, resisting arrest, and illegal possession of a weapon, given his previous felony convictions for possession of a forgery device.
David Lee Murray, 36, of Tempe, was booked on suspicion of armed robbery.
Bail for each man was set at $500,000. They were awaiting court-appointed lawyers.
Authorities say Sharp and Murray robbed two employees of Pink Rhino Cabaret at gunpoint as they left a restaurant around 2 p.m. Tuesday in east Phoenix.
The employees told police they had planned to deposit the $18,000 in a bank.
Sefranka, who had a 25-year-old woman in his patrol car on a ride-along, spotted the suspects' car and tried to stop it. The suspects' car then crashed into a truck, which was driven by the posse member who came to Sefranka's aid.
Murray ran away as Sefranka and the civilian struggled to subdue Sharp, police said. The suspect grabbed the officer's gun, shot both men, then ran away, police said. Murray and Sharp were arrested a short time later hiding in separate residential backyards.
As dozens of officers from multiple agencies swarmed the area Tuesday, authorities initially said they were searching for four more suspects.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson declined to comment Thursday on whether any suspects remained at large, only stating that it was an ongoing investigation aimed at apprehending "people that were involved or may be involved."
Associated Press writer Walter Berry contributed to this report.