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An Arizona sheriff’s deputy has died after being shot while trying to apprehend a theft suspect who barricaded himself from responding officers before surrendering, authorities said.
Yavapai County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Lopez, 51, responded to the call in a Cordes Lake neighborhood near Stagecoach Trail and Red Rock Road on Tuesday when the suspect shot him, Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said at a news conference on Tuesday night.
Residents called 911 and responding officers found Lopez unresponsive at the scene, Rhodes said. He was rushed to the nearest fire department and quickly airlifted to a hospital. Lopez underwent surgery but did not survive.
Officials said that the SWAT team was deployed to the scene when the suspect barricaded himself inside his home. The suspect was eventually taken into custody.
What led to the shooting was unclear, and Rhodes said no further details would be immediately released about the incident.
Lopez was a 14-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Rhodes ended the new conference with remarks about the escalating violence against law enforcement.
“The violence against law enforcement, we are seeing it escalate everywhere, and it has got to stop,” said Rhodes. “These are community servants. These are people that are out there serving the community, protecting life, liberty, and property, and they do not deserve this.”
No other details were provided during the Tuesday night press conference.
The sheriff’s office requested that the Arizona Department of Public Safety take over the investigation.