Police: One officer killed, second one hurt by convicted felon in a stolen vehicle

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GILBERT, AZ– A convicted felon in a stolen vehicle killed one police officer, and critically injured another from two separate police departments in Arizona this past week. 

The wild chase, which temporarily shut down a municipal airport, and claimed the life of an 18 year veteran of the police department occurred late Thursday, April 29th. 

According to both departments, the incident claimed the life of Chandler Police Officer, Christopher Farrar, and left Gilbert Police Officer, Rico Aranda hospitalized in critical condition with a severe head injury.

On Friday, April 30th, Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said:

“Chris was struck and killed by a violent felon in a stolen vehicle following a multi-agency shooting and pursuit,” Chandler police said.
Farrar had served on the force for 18 years and was currently part of the K-9 unit. His numerous commendations over the years included the Medal of Honor in 2004, the Community Service Award in 2009 and four Lifesaving Awards. Gilbert police said in a statement that as of Friday, officer Aranda, who has been with his department since July 2018, was still in critical but stable condition, and was showing signs of improvement.

According to reports, at approximately 10 p.m. on Thursday, a police pursuit began when a sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull over a speeding vehicle, and then reported that he had been shot at by the suspect in the vehicle.

Gilbert police said that the pursuit went into Chandler in metro Phoenix, where the suspect got onto a freeway before driving into the municipal airport and crashing through a gate, causing the airport to shut down temporarily.

ABC 7 reported that the suspect then got back on the freeway and drove the wrong way, heading back toward Gilbert, where he crashed the vehicle near a ramp, and then ran into the SanTan Motorplex, police said.

The suspect, who has not yet been identified, stole a vehicle and tried to drive away from a Ford dealership, as four state troopers and three Pinal County sheriff’s deputies fired at him just before midnight, Gilbert police said.

In his attempt to flee, the suspect struck the two police officers, and a janitor who worked at the dealership. The janitor was left with minor injuries. Additionally, it is reported that three troopers also sustained minor injured in the incident, however it is currently unclear how the troopers were injured. 

The suspect was taken into custody and transported to a hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, Gilbert police said. The details on his injuries have not yet been released, however the Chandler police described him as a “violent felon” but didn’t provide any additional details.

As of Friday, the Gilbert Police Department was still actively processing the crime scene, and had no additional information to release.

The slain officer had touched many lives during his 18 years on the force, Duggan said.

The Chief said:

“I just ask that you keep Chris’s family in your thoughts and prayers, and take a moment and be mindful of the brave men and women who are out there daily helping keep our communities safe,” 

Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday in order to honor Officer Farrar.

Ducey also released a formal statement, saying:

“Officer Farrar was a hero through and through, and his commitment to protecting Arizonans was unwavering. My sincerest condolences go to Officer Farrar’s loved ones, the Chandler Police Department, and the entire law enforcement community during this difficult time,” 

The Gilbert Police Leadership Association announced it has created a GoFundMe account in Officer Aranda’s name.

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This past week, another police officer died after being struck by an officer in New York City. Here is more on that story. 

NEW YORK CITY, NY– A NYPD highway patrol officer was killed after being hit by an alleged drunk driver who had a suspended license. 

On Tuesday, April 27, Highway Unit Officer, now identified as 43-year-old Anastasios Tsakos, was directing traffic at the scene of a deadly crash on the Long Island Expressway in Clearview around 2 a.m. 

NBC News reported that in that crash, the driver lost control of a vehicle and slammed into a concrete wall while trying to take an exit.

The vehicle burst into flames, with a driver and two passengers pulled from the fire and rushed to the hospital. Another passenger died at the scene, and the driver of the car was later charged.

According to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, Officer Tsakos was redirecting traffic at the crash site when a 2013 Volkswagen Passat, driven by 32-year-old Jessica Beauvais of Hempstead, hit him and sped off.

Commissioner Shea was asked if it was possible that Beauvais was unaware that she hit the officer, to which Shea responded that “there’s no way to not know that you struck an individual” based off of the damage that was sustained to the vehicle. 

https://twitter.com/RBarbarian2/status/1387511367448469505

According to the charges, Tsakos was thrown in the air and landed on a nearby patch of grass. He later died of his injuries at a hospital.

It is reported that Beauvais faces a slew of charges including manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of a deadly accident, DWI and other offenses.

According to a law enforcement official, Beauvais allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of .15, which is nearly twice the legal limit.

NBC News reported that at the time of the crash, Beauvais’ driver license was apparently suspended for failure to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment in relation to a speeding conviction.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said Beauvais did not stop or slow down after striking the officer with her car. Instead, she traveled several more exits before getting onto the Horace Harding Expressway, where she jumped a curb and mounted a sidewalk in her car.

The charges show that police officers surrounded Beauvais, and she tried to flee by putting her car in reverse and ramming into a police vehicle twice before coming to a stop. She was taken into custody immediately after.

According to two senior law enforcement officials, Beauvais was combative during her arrest.

Beauvais also admitted to drinking vodka and smoking marijuana prior to the collision, while she was working in a studio all night recording her podcast. Fox5 news reported that video of that podcast was posted on Facebook, and showed her using multiple expletives to describe law enforcement.

As Beauvais was lead out of the 107 police precinct in handcuffs, she tearfully apologized to Officer Tsakos’ family. 

She said:

“I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that I hit him and that he is dead,”

According to reports, she was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday evening, and faces up to 15 years in prison. It is not immediately known if she had retained an attorney. Beauvais is apparently a single mother who is the primary caregiver for her child. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio commended on the death of the 14 year police veteran, saying: 

“He’s dead before he was at an accident where people had driven recklessly also with a suspended license,”

de Blasio went on to say:

“He’s dead because of other people’s negligence.”

During Tuesday’s daily coronavirus press briefing, the Mayor once again commented on the tragedy, saying:

“My heart is heavy,” 

He continued:

“We lost a very good young man — a 14-year veteran of the NYPD, someone who went out there every day and serve us.”

Tsakos is survived by his wife, Irene, and their 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, de Blasio said, adding that Tsakos was “the epitome of a family man.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea called Tsakos’ death a:

“profound tragedy. The face that life was taken by a driver whose license had been suspended, and who was intoxicated, is nothing short of criminal and should be treated that way.”

As a caravan of police officers escorted Tsakos’ body to the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police Commissioner Shea said today that funeral services for the officer are being scheduled for “early next week,” 

In March, Law Enforcement Today reported on a LAPD officer who died after being struck by a vehicle while on duty. Here is more on that story.

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