PHOENIX (AP) — A veteran Phoenix police sergeant shot and wounded a robbery suspect who appeared to be pointing a handgun at a mother and child after police chased the truck he was driving through heavy traffic to where he finally stopped near a posh neighborhood, authorities said Friday.
The shooting happened after the suspect left the small U-Haul truck at an intersection and pointed the weapon at a woman with her 1-year-old daughter in a nearby car, police spokesman Sgt. Vince Lewis said.
A weapon recovered at the scene turned out to be a BB-gun.
Police said the 29-year-old suspect was seriously wounded and will face charges when he is released from a hospital. His name was being withheld by authorities until he is booked into jail.
The wild, nearly two-hour chase began Thursday afternoon in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria when a man robbed a convenience store, Lewis said. Peoria police tried to pull over the truck, but it sped away. A Phoenix police helicopter began tailing the suspect along with unmarked police vehicles.
Shots from a television news helicopter showed the U-Haul truck driving through heavy traffic, running red lights and maneuvering around cars. The truck then went through a neighborhood in upscale Paradise Valley.
In footage streamed live on the internet, the man is seen jumping out of the truck at an intersection and pointing the weapon at the woman and her daughter while yelling and trying to open the door of their minivan.
Three officers approach on foot as the minivan driver pulls away and at least one officer appears to fire a weapon at the man, who falls to the ground.
Police said the police sergeant — a member of the department's SWAT team — ran up and ordered the man to surrender then fired multiple shots when he saw the man pointing the gun at the woman.
Lewis said the suspect was hit more than once and is expected to survive.
The woman and baby were unharmed and she "expressed sincere gratitude" for the actions of the sergeant, Lewis said. His name was not released.
The suspect is also being investigated in an armed robbery at a north Phoenix motel earlier in the week, Lewis said.