Brothers arrested, identified in connection to shooting that injured 2 Phoenix officers

·3 min read
A Phoenix police vehicle on Dec. 7, 2021.
A Phoenix police vehicle on Dec. 7, 2021.

Phoenix police named 28-year-old Devonte Thornton as the lead suspect in a shooting that injured two officers during a vehicle pursuit early Sunday morning.

Police say two patrol vehicles pursued a driver for multiple traffic violations near Maryland Avenue and 27th Avenue in Phoenix when Thornton, who was on foot on the side of the road, allegedly began firing a barrage of bullets at the officers.

The officer in the passenger seat of the second patrol vehicle was shot in his wrist, and the officer who was driving was cut by flying glass caused by the bullets. Both survived with minor injuries and are recovering. No officers returned fire, police said.

The officer who was shot was released from the hospital and is recovering, Phoenix police announced Monday afternoon.

Man denies involvement in shooting

Javon Beasley, 18, the driver originally being stopped for traffic violations, ran from his car during the attack. Shortly after, newly arriving officers found Beasley on 27th Avenue and took him into custody.

The shooter, however, eluded capture until late Sunday. According to Phoenix police, detectives from at least 10 different units within the department — as well as other agencies — helped gather evidence, interview witnesses and serve search warrants Sunday to identify and arrest the shooter.

During their investigation, officers uncovered Beasley was Thornton's younger brother by linking a phone call Beasley had made to Thornton shortly before the shooting incident.

Suspect at large: Phoenix police officer injured in shooting

Court documents state officers found Thornton at an acquaintance's apartment in the same complex at which both Thornton and Beasley also resided, near 27th and Maryland avenues.

There, officers found a disassembled gun with a slide they were able to connect to evidence found at the crime scene. Police also found a backpack in the apartment containing another part of a handgun, 5.4 grams of cocaine and a credit card in Thornton's name.

Thornton later told police he was asleep in his own apartment during the shooting, denied owning a gun or having called his brother and could not explain why his credit card was in a backpack containing cocaine, according to court documents.

Police later learned Thornton had a felony warrant through the U.S. Marshals Service Office in east St. Louis, documents say.

Thornton faces charges of attempted homicide, drug possession and possessing a weapon as a prohibited possessor, and was booked into a Maricopa County jail early Monday. The driver who fled amid the shootout, Beasley, faces a charge of felony flight from law enforcement.

Seventh Phoenix officer shot in past 3 months

“This is the seventh Phoenix officer shot and 12th injured in the line of duty in the past three months. This kind of violence within our community and toward police officers cannot become the new normal,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said.

On Monday afternoon, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego tweeted praise for the investigators and staff who worked on the case.

"A huge team of investigators, crime lab personnel & more worked with federal partners to get the job done & make an arrest. On behalf of the people of Phoenix, you have our deep gratitude & respect," Gallego tweeted.

Reach breaking news intern Brock Blasdell at or on Twitter @BrockBlasdell.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Devonte Thornton arrested after Phoenix shooting injured two officers