Chandler officer hit, killed by suspect in stolen truck in Gilbert; suspect identified

A suspect in a stolen vehicle struck and killed one police officer and critically injured another during a wild chase that temporarily shut down a municipal airport in Chandler before ending at a car dealership in Gilbert, authorities said Friday.

The chase late Thursday night resulted in the death of Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar and left a Gilbert police officer hospitalized in critical condition with a severe head injury, their departments said.

Gilbert police and Pinal Sheriff Mark Lamb said the pursuit began at about 10 p.m. Thursday night when a sheriff's deputy tried to pull over a speeding vehicle near Eloy and then reported he'd been shot at.

The police chase ended up in Chandler Airport where the suspect driver busted through one of the gates, causing the facility to briefly shut down.

As multiple law enforcement agencies continued to try to take the suspect into custody, the driver ended up getting onto the Loop 202 freeway while driving the wrong way. He eventually crashed near the Val Vista Drive on-ramp.

Officials say the suspect then fled on foot and stole a truck from a Ford dealership at SanTan Motorplex, hitting two officers and one of the dealership janitors. One of them was Officer Christopher Farrar, who later died from his injuries.

"Chris was struck and killed by a violent felon in a stolen vehicle following a multi-agency shooting and pursuit," Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said.

The second officer that was hit suffered a severe head injury and is currently in the hospital in critical condition.

On the afternoon of April 30, Gilbert Police officials identified the office as Rico Aranda. Aranda, who has been with the department since 2018, is reportedly in critical but stable condition.

"I just ask that you keep Chris's family in your thoughts and prayers, and take a moment and be mindful of the brave men and women who are out there daily helping keep our communities safe," the police chief said.

Three Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers suffered non-life-threatening injuries. It wasn't clear how the troopers were injured.

The janitor that was struck suffered minor injuries.

The suspect, who was also hurt, attempted to drive away from the dealership as four state troopers and three Pinal County sheriff's deputies fired at him. On the night of April 30, Gilbert Police officials identified the suspect as 25-year-old Jonathan Altland.


Jonathan Altland

"Altland is facing charges of murder, aggravated assault, and auto theft," read a tweet by Gilbert Police officials.

The driver was taken into custody and transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, Gilbert police said. Details on his injuries weren't disclosed.

Officials said Officer Farrar was an 18-year veteran of the department.

Governor Doug Ducey has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff until sunset in honor of Farrar.

The Loop 202 westbound between Val Vista and Cooper was closed because of the incident but has since reopened.

Chandler Police, Gilbert Police, the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office are all involved, officials say.

A candlelight vigil is set to be held at the Compass Christian Church at 7:00 p.m. on May 1. Officer Farrar was a member and volunteer at the church. Members of the public are welcome to attend. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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