AVONDALE, Ariz. — He led police on a chase for days, and as a result, he’ll spend years behind bars.
Judge Chuck Whitehead sentenced Christopher Mendoza to 16 years in prison Thursday after Mendoza pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and kidnapping.
The charges date back to December 20, 2019, when police responded to a Walmart near Interstate 10 and Estrella Parkway for a report of a man with a gun.
There they found Mendoza who was accused of threatening his girlfriend with the gun. Mendoza ran from police and escaped in the chaos of the store’s evacuation.
He carjacked a man in the Walmart parking lot and drove the car to a home in Goodyear. Mendoza was able to elude police that night, but, police said, he returned to the same house the next morning.
This led to a second standoff at the same house. Goodyear police even shot tear gas into the house, but Mendoza was still able to get away.
Eventually, on December 23, an off-duty police officer spotted Mendoza walking down a road in Buckeye. He called in the sighting, and Mendoza ran again, stealing a pest control truck.
When police arrived he began waving his gun at them, saying he had a hostage and threatening to kill himself. Buckeye police eventually shot and wounded Mendoza and took him into custody.
Mendoza, now 36, faced several charges from the incident, and pleaded guilty to six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as well as one count of kidnapping.
“A violent offender was held accountable for his actions,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a statement. “Our streets are safer because of the brave actions of law enforcement and diligent work of prosecutors.”
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