Arizona police have arrested a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a local sheriff's deputy, 51-year-old Sergeant Rick Lopez, whom they believe was killed while attempting to apprehend the man for possible theft on Tuesday.
Lopez, a 14-year employee of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, was found unresponsive in Cordes Lakes, a neighborhood north of Phoenix, following his confrontation with the alleged suspect. Residents of the area called 911 to report an officer in distress, according to Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes.
"We don't know exactly what happened," the sheriff said during a press conference Tuesday, referring to the events leading up to the shooting. Rhodes confirmed in his remarks that Lopez died of complications related to gunshot wounds after being airlifted to a hospital.
The suspect was identified Wednesday as Robert McDowell, a 61-year-old resident of Yavapai County. He allegedly fled to a nearby home after the shooting Tuesday afternoon and barricaded himself inside until police were able to gain entry and take him into custody, according to the sheriff's office.
McDowell is charged with murder in the first degree. The sheriff said officials at the Department of Public Safety will oversee an investigation into circumstances surrounding the shooting that led to Lopez's death, and more details about the incident will be shared publicly as they become available.