Phoenix Cop Shot Six Times While on Patrol; Chief Says He's "Extremely Lucky" to Be Alive
Phoenix police Officer Pete Bennett was shot six times last night after confronting someone he thought was suspicious near 21st and Georgia avenues.
Police Chief Daniel Garcia said today that Bennett's "extremely lucky" to be alive, although the four-year veteran still has some surgeries to go through.
Garcia wouldn't go into detail about why Bennett approached the suspect -- whose name hasn't been released -- around 8:30 p.m. yesterday, although he says the man was engaging in "suspicious activity" while riding a bike.
The man ended up running from Bennett, who chased the man for a bit before the man fell over. At that point, the man pulled out a handgun and started shooting at Bennett, Garcia said.
Three rounds went into Bennett's body -- one in the cheek, one in the thigh, and one in the arm -- while two were stopped by Bennett's bulletproof vest, and another was stopped by index cards Bennett was carrying in his chest pocket.
Bennett also fired back -- getting off between seven and 10 shots, according to police Sergeant Trent Crump -- and hit the suspect at least two times. The suspect's name hasn't been released because he's still in the hospital and won't be charged until he's released.
The suspect was found about an hour later hiding in a backyard not far from the shooting, according to Crump.
Although Garcia didn't get too detailed about why Bennett approached the man, the chief said the area is a "high-profile enforcement area," where robberies and assaults are more common. Although there were reports of Bennett possibly approaching the man in relation to a home burglary in the area, Garcia wouldn't talk about that.
The suspect was released from prison a little less than a year ago, after serving almost five years for trafficking stolen property and burglary, Crump said.
As for Bennett, Crump said he's in stable condition. Although Bennett's still slated for more surgeries, Crump said Bennett's colleagues can "breathe easier" at this point.
When the suspect's released from the hospital, he'll be charged with attempted murder and misconduct involving weapons, Garcia said.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (right) and Police Chief Daniel Garcia talk about the shooting of Officer Pete Bennett
Photo by Matthew Hendley
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.