Violence against Arizona law enforcement: A look at attacks against those protecting the community this year

Attacks on police, like the Phoenix shootout on Aug. 28 that injured 2 officers, are happening at an alarming rate.

So far this year, Arizona has had more than a dozen members of law enforcement shot in the line of duty.

As of July 31, there have been 210 officers shot in the line of duty across the U.S. this year, says a report by the National Fraternal Order of Police. Of those, 39 were killed by gunfire, which is up from the last two years.

In Arizona, we are just behind Texas with the most officers shot.

‘Emotions are heightened'

Blue ribbons line trees outside HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center as a subtle gesture that shows massive support for law enforcement a day after another Phoenix Police shooting.

"This is just a way to show the community that people do support the police and show the police that we do support them. We support them every day but in a critical situation like this, the emotions are heightened," AJ Marsden said.

Since December 2021, around 20 members of law enforcement have been shot in the line of duty across Arizona, and about a dozen of those are with the Phoenix Police Department.

In December, Phoenix Police Officer Tyler Moldovan was shot while responding to a vehicle driving erratically. He went up to an apartment and a gunman jumped out firing.

In February, five officers were shot and four were injured by shrapnel during a barricade situation at a Phoenix home. In April, an officer was shot while responding to a domestic violence call at a gas station.

In June, White Mountain Apache Officer Adrian Lopez Sr. was shot and killed during a traffic stop. A few weeks later, Yavapai County Sgt. Richard Lopez was killed in Cordes Lakes.

"In my entire career, I’ve never seen a time like this before," said Darrell Kriplean with Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. "It’s just frustrating that this continues to happen and at some point, the community has to stand up and say enough is enough and start acting and doing things that demonstrate that."

Several of these shootings have been ambush attacks.

In June, a detective was shot at several times while in her car. A ballistic vest is credited with saving her life.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams says these shootings are happening all too often.

"How many more officers have to be shot? How many more community members have to be killed for those in our community to take a stand?" she asked.

Phoenix Police created a whole division to crack down on gun violence. Department officials said instances of homicides with firearms are up 45% this year over the same time last year.

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