Salt River Police officer killed during traffic stop on Loop 101 identified

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Authorities say a Salt River Police Department officer has died while conducting a traffic stop on Loop 101.

The officer has been identified by Salt River Police Chief Karl G. Auerbach as Clayton Townsend, a five-year veteran of the department who left behind a wife and a 10-month-old child.

"He was truly a guardian of the people," said Chief Auerbach, during the news conference. "He was known by all to be very caring and compassionate."

During a joint news conference Tuesday night, DPS Captain Jesse Galvez said shortly after 6:00 p.m., Officer Townsend made a traffic stop on the northbound lanes of Loop 101, just south of the McDowell off-ramp. As the officer was approaching the car he stopped, Townsend was struck by another northbound car. That same car then struck the car Officer Townsend stopped.

Officer Townsend was taken to Scottsdale Osborn, where he was pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m., according to officials. The driver of the car that was stopped was also taken to the hospital for treatment.

(Can't see the video? Click here)

The freeway was reopened early Wednesday morning.