Dec 28, 2014 3:33 PM
Arizona police officer killed; suspect dead
The Associated Press
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) A candlelight vigil was set for Sunday night in northern Arizona for a 24-year-old police officer who was fatally shot by a domestic violence suspect who then killed himself.
Flagstaff Officer Tyler J. Stewart died Saturday at Flagstaff Medical Center shortly after the shooting, police said.
Stewart is the second Flagstaff police officer to be killed in the line of duty. On June 21, 2000, Officer Jeff Moritz, 30, was killed after he pulled over a teenager who was driving around his neighborhood in a truck playing loud music.
Stewart had responded to a domestic violence call at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday when he encountered the suspect identified as Robert W. Smith, 28, of Prescott at a home on the city's west side, police Sgt. Margaret Bentzen said.
She said Smith fired several shots at Stewart as he stood outside his patrol car, striking the officer, before turning the gun on himself.
Smith died at the scene.
Investigators do not believe Stewart fired any shots, but an investigation was ongoing Sunday, Bentzen said.
Stewart had worked at the department for less than a year. He was a graduate of Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Arizona, near Phoenix, and later attended Concordia College in California, police said.
"This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our officer. We are a very close knit organization, and know that all members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our Officer Tyler Stewart," Chief Kevin Treadway said in a statement.
"It is heartbreaking to lose one of our officers," Mayor Jerry Nabours said. "We collectively mourn for his family and the entire department."
The vigil planned by Stewart's family and the Flagstaff Police Department was set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Officer Down Memorial Statue in front of the agency's headquarters.
The shooting was the second one of a police officer in northern Arizona in the past three months. In October, a tribal police officer of the Navajo Nation was shot in the face during a shootout with a suspect in the town of Kaibeto, about 75 miles north of Flagstaff. The officer survived.