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PHOENIX, AZ — Nine Phoenix police officers were injured early Friday while trying to rescue a baby during a standoff in which the shooter was killed, police said.
The baby girl was not injured, but a woman who was believed to be the baby’s mother was also shot and later died at a local hospital, police said.
Morris Jones, 36, was the suspected shooter at the house at 54th Avenue and Elmwood Street, according to police. The woman who died has not been publicly identified.
During a Friday afternoon news conference Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego praised the responding officers and the emergency dispatchers for their handling of the shooting.
“A baby is safe today because of our Phoenix police officers,” she said.
Five of the injured officers were shot, and four others were hit by bullet shrapnel, according to the Phoenix Police Department. One of the officers suffered critical injuries and the four others were seriously injured, police said. Four of them remained hospitalized as of late Friday afternoon.
Police were called to a shooting at the home around 2:15 a.m. The suspected shooter invited an officer inside, but shot the officer several times before the officer could enter, police said.
The officer who was shot retreated to safety while backup arrived and surrounded the house, telling those inside to come out, police said.
A man then stepped outside and placed the baby in a carrier just outside the door and then walked backward toward police with his hands up, police said. As of Friday, police did not believe the man who brought the infant outside was involved in the shooting, but said he lived at the house where the shooting happened.
When officers approached the home to get the baby, the Morris shot four more officers, police said.
Officers then returned fire, police said, and Morris barricaded himself inside. He was later found dead inside the house, police said. It’s unclear whether police bullets struck him or if he died of a self-inflicted wound, police said.
The woman who was injured in the initial shooting that prompted the emergency call was found critically injured inside the house, police said. Morris and the woman are former partners who have a child in common, who police believed was the baby rescued from the home. As of Friday afternoon the baby was in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety, police said.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Andy Williams said in a late Friday morning news conference that he believes nine is the most Phoenix officers ever injured at one time.
“It’s hard to see our brothers and sisters get hurt and I know it’s hard for the community to see community members get hurt,” he said. “We’re not the only ones who were injured here today and we recognize that.”
He added that police will continue to do their jobs even on challenging days like Friday, because it’s the job they chose and it’s their duty to protect the public.
“This is just one more example of the dangers our officers face every day, keeping us and our community safe,” Chief Jeri Williams said during an early Friday morning news conference. “If I seem upset, I am. This is senseless — it doesn’t need to happen, and it continues to happen over and over again.”
Patch will update this breaking news story as more details are learned.
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