QUARTZSITE, Ariz. — A man was killed Wednesday in a shootout with law enforcement in an Arizona town near the state line with California after authorities said he fired at a state trooper during a highway traffic stop, led officers on a chase, hijacked a tractor-trailer and then opened fire at border control agents.
The unidentified man was fatally wounded along on the main street of Quartzite when he got into the shootout with officers. No officers were hurt and the trucker whose rig was stolen earlier suffered only minor injuries, said Trooper Kameron Lee of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Officers gave the man medical assistance after they shot him but he was pronounced dead at a hospital, Lee said.
The suspect’s identity was not released, but Lee said preliminary information indicated the man was a “career criminal” sought on arrest warrants. Lee said he did not have details on the warrants.
The events started when the trooper pulled over a car because of a traffic violation and a man who was a passenger in the car got out, approached the officer and tried to shoot him, Lee said.
The trooper pushed the suspect’s arm away as the gun fired, took cover and returned fire as the suspect ran back to the car and drove off on Interstate 10, Lee said.
The car was spotted by a sheriff’s deputy as it headed west toward California and stopped by Border Patrol agents. But the suspect opened fire at them, ran across the highway and broke into a parked tractor-trailer, Lee said.
The suspect then attacked the sleeping truck driver, drove off alone in his rig and exited at Quartzite.
After the suspect was shot, a 24-mile stretch (39-kilometer) of westbound I-10 was closed for 5½ hours during the investigation.
Preliminary information indicates that troopers and officers from the U.S. Border Patrol and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office shot at the man during the exchange of gunfire, Lee said.