Phoenix Police Officer Shot, in Critical Condition After Being 'Ambushed'

A police officer was seriously injured in an "ambush" shooting in Phoenix. The officer, who has not been named, was in critical condition after he exchanged fire with the suspect at around 8 p.m. on August 16 in the Cactus and Cave Creek area.

According to Phoenix Police Sergeant Mercedes Fortune, the officer, in a marked patrol vehicle, was attempting a traffic stop. When the car did stop, the officer exited the police vehicle and headed toward the car, at which point the suspect opened fire, reported CBS 5.

The officer returned fire and shot the suspect. Both were taken to the hospital and are in critical condition. The extent of the officer's injuries are not known, but officials from the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association said he was currently stable.

"I believe he was ambushed," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said outside the hospital, reported AZ Central.

The officer has been with the department for around 18 months. Williams said the department was not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

"It's one of those things, we say it a lot. We don't know what's going to happen when you put on your uniform that night and so you come to work and you hope for the best," Fortune told CBS 5. "Understanding that not everyone wants to cause you harm but you just never know. This is an incident where I guarantee you, the officer had that in the back of his mind and unfortunately, this happened to him tonight."

This is reported to be the 34th officer-involved shooting in Phoenix this year and the 66th shooting involving a law-enforcement officer in Maricopa County.

The department has initiated a $149,000 study to examine the spike in Phoenix police officer shootings this year. "This is a serious issue. We're taking it seriously,'' Williams said, adding that there had also been a 45 percent increase in aggravated assaults on Phoenix police officers compared with 2017.

"I know right now, the Phoenix Police Department has a problem with people who are being aggressive toward our officers," Williams said.

The incident occurred on the same night that another officer was injured after a suspect challenged him to a fight. The officer, who was wearing his uniform at the time, did not suffer serious injuries, and the suspect was taken into custody, reported KTAR News.

Phoenix Police Officer Shot, in Critical Condition After Being 'Ambushed' | U.S.