City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahna praised the work of emergency personnel who responded to a tragic and volatile situation on Tuesday morning.
First responders showed up to a neighborhood south of Cactus Road and 47th Avenue to find a house on fire with an active shooter and four related victims inside.
It was a teamwork effort between fire crews and officers, sharing gear to face a house fire and to take down the shooter.
“In my 30 years of experience here in Phoenix,” said Yahner, “this is a unique scene.”
It was also an extremely chaotic one.
Fire crews and officers teamed up to tackle both life-threatening issues at once, using each other’s gear and resources; Officers used firefighters’ turnout gear and approached the home with a charged fire hose.
Meantime, firefighters worked the outside and the roof of the home to contain the flames of the house fire with the shooter somewhere inside the house.
“Everybody did a very good job under very stressful and tragic circumstances,” said Yahner.
It was tragic because not a single family member survived. The fire was out at one point, but it re-ignited less than an hour later.
Then, after silence, more gunshots. Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department said officers shot the armed person after officers say he pointed his gun at them.
“I think our guys did a great job, especially with what they had in getting up here and trying to get to that home and to get people out,” said Crump. “Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like any of them survived.”
The mayor showed up to the crime scene to recognize the hard work of the first responders.
“Their professionalism, their heroism under the worst possible conditions, has truly blown me away,” he said.
Three officers were treated for minor smoke inhalation.
The Phoenix police department’s SWAT unit goes through training to handle extreme situations such as a burning structures.
It was the patrol officers, first one scene, who entered the burning home as the shooter was firing at them from the second floor of the house, trusting the fire crews to guide them through unfamiliar territory and focusing on the victims inside who needed their help.