Phoenix officer injured in shooting; suspect still at large

Authorities issued a statewide alert on Thursday for a man being sought in connection with a shooting of a Phoenix police officer near Cave Creek and Beardsley roads.

The officer was in stable condition Thursday evening, and police continued to search for a man they say shot her before fleeing in a 2012 light blue Toyota Prius. The car was later located.

The man was identified by officials as Nicholas Cody Cowan. He was described by police as 35 years old, about 6 feet tall and 215 pounds. He has tattoos on his neck and was possibly bleeding, officials said. It’s unclear if the man was injured in the shooting.

The man was last seen near Third Avenue and Greenway Road, according to police. Officials advised people to call 911 if the man is seen and asked people not to approach him.

Silent Witness is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to Cowan’s arrest. People can report anonymously by calling 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish.

Phoenix police are looking for Nicholas Cowan after an officer was shot in north Phoenix on April 14, 2022.

The statewide alert, known as the Blue Alert, was issued just before 4 pm on Thursday and distributed via cellphones.

The purpose of the Blue Alert notification is to immediately notify the public that there’s been a violent attack on law enforcement and that the suspect is on the loose, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

According to Arizona law, a Blue Alert can be sent if a law enforcement officer has been assaulted with a deadly weapon.

“Here I am once again standing before you delivering this type of news outside of a hospital,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference outside of HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center, where the officer is hospitalized. “I’m angry, I’m tired and I’m frustrated.”

Phoenix police tweeted Thursday evening that the injured officer was in stable condition after undergoing surgery to remove the bullet at HonorHealth Deer Valley.

Officers on Thursday morning were responding to a domestic violence call at a gas station in the area when the shooting occurred, according to Williams. It’s unclear when exactly on Thursday morning the incident occurred.

A woman told police she left her home and went to the gas station to talk to police because “she was afraid of the confrontation that might occur,” Williams said.

While speaking with police, a man drove into the parking lot and fired multiple rounds at officers, Williams said. The man had “some sort of romantic relationship” with the woman, Phoenix police spokesperson Sgt. Andy Williams later said at the news conference.

One of the officers was hit by gunfire and another officer returned fire as the man drove away, Williams said.

Police seek assistance: Phoenix chief asks community to help prevent violence

The injured officer was only identified by officials on Thursday as a 24-year veteran at the department, whose spouse is also a Phoenix police officer.

“I can tell you this about the officer. She’s a wife, she’s a mom, she’s a dedicated public servant,” Jeri Williams said. “Please keep all of our officers in your thoughts and prayers.”

“The officer is an incredible asset to the department and one of our best public safety leaders who is committed to serving and protecting our community,” said Michael London, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association in a Thursday statement.

“This is a family of public servants to our community who have dedicated their lives to protecting and serving you,” Williams said. “From the subways of New York City all the way to a gas station in Phoenix, Arizona, we are not immune to the violence against law enforcement in our communities that is plaguing this nation.”

Phoenix Police Department officers are at the scene of an officer-involved shooting at the corner of Cave Creek and Beardsley roads on April 14, 2022, in Phoenix.

Eighth officers shot in four months

Thursday’s shooting marked the eighth Phoenix police officer shot and 13th injured since December.

In December, Officer Tyler Moldovan was shot up to eight times, including once in the head, during an investigation into vehicles driving erratically. The 22-year-old was in critical condition for several weeks but has since been released from a hospital and was receiving further rehabilitation at an undisclosed medical facility.

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Nine Phoenix police officers about a month later were injured in what officials described as an ambush. Five officers were shot and another four were hit by bullet shrapnel. They’ve all since been treated.

Police officials previously said the incident marked the most number of officer injuries to occur in a single incident at the Police Department.

Just a few weeks ago, two more Phoenix police officers attempting a traffic stop were shot at by someone standing in the street. The officer in the passenger seat was shot in the wrist and the officer who was driving was injured by flying glass.

There have been at least 18 police shootings in Arizona so far this year, according to data tracked by The Arizona Republic. At least eight of those shootings were fatal, data showed.

The Phoenix Police Department, the state’s largest municipal police agency, accounted for at least four of those 18 shootings — at least one of which was fatal, according to the data.

Phoenix police in 2018 shot at more people than any other agency in the nation. But 2021 marked the department’s lowest number of shootings in 18 years.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

Reach breaking news reporter Laura Daniella Sepulveda at [email protected] or on Twitter @lauradNews.

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