A Phoenix police officer has died after being struck by a vehicle in west Phoenix early Thursday morning, according to Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.
The officer is 51-year-old Paul Rutherford, Phoenix police officials say. He leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
Thank you for your service, Officer Rutherford. Rest in peace. ❤️️ pic.twitter.com/RldsMIaSzh
— FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) March 21, 2019
According Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson, Rutherford was a 23-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department.
“Our community has a reason to mourn because, once again, one of our officers was killed in the line of duty,” Williams said during a press conference.
“This is just another example of the inherent dangers that our officers face each and every day, and yet they put that full uniform on and go out and serve our community,” Williams said.
Rutherford was investigating a crash that occurred near 75th Avenue and Indian School Road shortly before 8:30 a.m. when he was struck by another vehicle, according Thompson.
Phoenix police officials say Rutherford was transported to an area hospital in extremely critical condition where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver of the vehicle stayed on scene and cooperated with police. Police said they don’t know at this point what might have caused the driver to hit the officer.
A Phoenix police officer has died after he was struck by a vehicle this morning. He was investigating another crash when it happened. Officer Paul Rutherford was a 22-year veteran of the force. https://t.co/M7eiv1ZckL
— 12 News (@12News) March 21, 2019
Rutherford’s death marks the 39th line of duty death in the Phoenix Police Department’s history.
COPS, or the Concerns of Police Survivors Executive Director, Dianne Bernhard, released the following statement surrounding Officer Rutherford’s untimely death.
“Being notified of a line-of-duty death is heart-wrenching no matter how you look at it. Officer Rutherford was a husband, a father, and a friend. After 23 years of serving his community through law enforcement, the entire blue family stands strong to help lift his wife and children back up.”
This tragedy comes just two days after a deputy in Kittitas, Washington was killed in the line of duty.
Deputy Ryan Thompson was killed earlier this week when a complaint of a driver with road rage went south. Thompson and another officer from a local department were in pursuit of a vehicle. When it finally came to a stop, the officers engaged in a gun battle with the suspect. Both the officer and the deputy were hit, but Deputy Thompson succumbed to his injuries.
The local officer was reported to be in good condition on Wednesday morning. You can follow the entire story below.