Gang member handed decades-long prison sentence following 'ambush-style' attack: MCAO

Officials with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced on Monday that a man has been sentenced to prison for his role in an "ambush style" attack left a Phoenix Police officer injured.

In a statement, prosecutors said that 30-year-old Joseph Eleno Lopez has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking a Phoenix Police officer who was responding to a car accident. Prosecutors noted that Lopez pleaded guilty in January 2024 to a count of felony aggravated assault.

According to our initial report at the time, the incident began to unfold in an area near 7th Avenue and Broadway Road on March 24, 2023. The officer who was shot was responding to a hit-and-run accident call in the area of a black Chevrolet Camaro that crashed into a home.

"While approaching in her patrol car, the suspect pulled a rifle and began shooting at the officer," police said at the time.

The officer was able to drive away, but she was shot in her left hip and was hit in the face by bullet fragments. She was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

That officer, since identified by Phoenix Police officials as Morgan Bullis, returned to duty on July 12, 2023.

Joseph Lopez

Joseph Lopez

Prosecutors noted, in their statement released on April 15, that Lopez ran to a nearby apartment complex after the shooting, and barricaded himself for several hours. He was finally taken into custody after he left the building via a vent in the roof.  Officials with MCAO stated that prior to him being taken into custody, Lopez was hiding in the attic from police officers, who had entered the building and deployed gas.

Officials with MCA said this incident wasn't Lopez's first run-in with the law.

"As a criminal street gang member, at the time of his arrest, Lopez had five prior felony convictions, and was on probation," read a portion of the statement released by MCAO.

 Where the attack happened