SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A suspected car thief led Scottsdale police on a hit-and-run spree and then a foot chase before finally being caught in a backyard in Mesa, authorities said Friday.
The male suspect deliberately rammed two vehicles and then tried to run over an officer with a stolen Dodge Ram pickup, Sgt. Ben Hoster said. The officer shot at the truck, striking the driver. Hoster said the suspect, whose identity was not immediately released, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
The suspect’s alleged crime spree began around 10:40 p.m. Thursday when police responded to a hit-and-run near Scottsdale and Thomas roads. A pickup that was involved fled the scene, but it was reported in a nearby hit-and-run 90 minutes later, Hoster said. In that collision, the other vehicle was left flipped on its side, he said.
The occupants of the vehicles in both incidents only suffered minor injuries, Hoster said.
Police then followed the truck to a car wash, where the confrontation between the driver and an approaching officer occurred. Despite suffering multiple gunshot wounds, the suspect led police on a chase for nine minutes before crashing the truck in Mesa while trying to navigate a turn. The suspect abandoned the pickup and took off, Hoster said.
Officers from the Mesa Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety as well as a Phoenix police air unit joined in the search. The suspect ran through a construction site and several backyards. But after 30 minutes, police found him in a backyard. He was immediately arrested.
The investigation is still ongoing, but Department of Public Safety officials said the stolen truck may have been involved in three other hit-and-run accidents Friday on freeways in the Phoenix area.
The incident marks the 19th shooting by police in the Phoenix area and the 30th statewide this year.