Pot Deal Gone Bad Leads to Lockdown of Sky Harbor Airport Terminal, 25 Canceled Flights

A marijuana deal gone bad at a Tempe gas station eventually led to a three-hour lock-down of a terminal and 25 flight cancellations at Sky Harbor airport yesterday.

A group of three people showed up to a Shell gas station near Broadway Road and Price Road in Tempe around 2:45 yesterday, and one of them shot the pot dealer, police say. The dealer was able to make his way to a nearby apartment complex and called police, while the group of three drove away from the gas station, and toward the airport.

According to police, patrol officers in Tempe spotted the suspects driving about two minutes after the 9-1-1 call was made, but a high-speed chase developed.

Tempe PD spokeswoman Molly Enright said yesterday that police "terminated the vehicle pursuit for public safety reasons due to the high rate of speed the suspect vehicle was traveling."

The three suspects ditched the car at the airport, and police caught two people -- identified as 25-year-old Louis Clark and 18-year-old Rosetta Salazar -- rather quickly. The third person, later identified as 25-year-old Layron Dejarnette, wasn't found for another three hours.

Sky Harbor's Terminal 4 was closed while police searched for Dejarnette. Phoenix police announced at 6 p.m. that the terminal was re-opening as police had tracked Dejarnette to the upper levels of the terminal's parking garage.

Phoenix Police Sergeant Steve Martos tells New Times the tracking involved a methodical search of the airport, which allowed police to be comfortable re-opening the airport terminal without actually having Dejarnette in custody.

Police found Dejarnette hiding in a stairwell of that parking garage. Martos says Dejarnette managed to get himself locked inside the stairwell, but that didn't turn into a major obstacle to the arrest.

Meanwhile, police say 25 flights were canceled due to the terminal's lock-down, and numerous other flights were delayed.

The man who was shot is expected to live, according to police.

Dejarnette, Clark, and Salazar face a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit the sale or transport of marijuana. Clark faces additional charges for the shooting, and Dejarnette faces additional charges for reckless driving and his flight from police.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley