GILBERT, AZ — Several law enforcement agencies responded to the SanTan Motorplex in Gilbert overnight for a police incident that left one officer dead and multiple others injured.
Gilbert police say the incident started after 10 p.m. Thursday when a Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to stop a vehicle on SR 87 near Eloy. The driver, later identified as 25-year-old Jonathon Altland fled and fired shots at the deputy who was in pursuit.
Altland continued into the Chandler area and busted through the Chandler Airport gates, driving onto the runway and prompting a closure of the airport at 10:39 p.m.
Police say Altland then drove the wrong way on Loop 202 Santan before crashing near the Santan Motorplex in Gilbert.
Altland ditched the crashed vehicle and stole a vehicle from the dealership. In an attempt to flee in the stolen vehicle, Altland hit two officers and a dealership employee.
Officials say he was able to enter the building through an open roll-up door to the maintenance area of the dealership.
Officers from Gilbert, Chandler, Pinal County and DPS surrounded the building. During the incident, three PCSO deputies and four DPS troopers fired shots at Altland at around 11 p.m. when he crashed a stolen vehicle through a closed bay door and allegedly attempted to run them over.
Altland allegedly then continued to drive and struck Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar, and then a parked vehicle that hit Gilbert Officer Rico Aranda.
Officer Farrar, died from his injuries and Officer Aranda, suffered a serious head injury and is in critical condition.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar. Officer Farrar was struck and killed by a suspect driving a stolen vehicle earlier this evening. He was a 18-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department. pic.twitter.com/msQ19LT70L— Chandler Police (@ChandlerPolice) April 30, 2021
Gilbert police say officer Aranda is in critical but stable condition and is showing signs of improvement.
Officer Aranda has been with the department since July 2018
Gilbert Police Officer Rico Aranda has been with our department since July 2018. Officer Aranda is still in critical condition, but stable, and he has shown signs of improvement.— Gilbert Police Dept. (@GilbertPolice) April 30, 2021
Three Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers also suffered injuries during the incident and were taken to the hospital, along with the dealership employee.
Altland was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
PCSO will be investigating and submitting charges related to their involvement on the initial traffic stop and attempted murder of an officer.
Chandler PD will submit charges related to the suspect entering the airport, while Gilbert PD is investigating the termination of the pursuit.
Police say Altland is facing murder, aggravated assault and auto theft charges.
ABC15 crews witnessed at least two ambulances leave the auto complex. Another crew witnessed someone being airlifted in an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter and brought to Chandler Regional Medical Center.
Viewer video shared with ABC15 showed two law enforcement officers along the Loop 202 carrying another officer towards a police vehicle. Editor's note: ABC15 has edited the viewer video so it freezes as the three officers come into frame.
Westbound Loop 202 SanTan was closed at Val Vista Drive for several hours during the investigation, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Early Friday morning, officials at the Chandler Police Department's headquarters brought their flags to half staff in honor of fallen officer Farrar. Governor Ducey also ordered all flags to be half staff Friday.
San Tan Ford, which is located inside the San Tan Motorplex, has announced that it will remain closed Friday and is expected to reopen Saturday.