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Chandler Officer Christopher Farrar struck, killed by person driving stolen vehicle, police say

A Chandler police officer was struck and killed by a person driving a stolen vehicle during a pursuit involving multiple law enforcement officials, police said.

PHOENIX — A Chandler police officer was struck and killed by a person driving a stolen vehicle during a pursuit involving multiple law enforcement officials on Thursday night, police said early Friday.

Officer Christopher Farrar was struck and killed by a suspect driving a stolen vehicle, Chandler Police said Friday.

Farrar was an 18-year veteran of the department. 

Three Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers, a Gilbert Police officer, a bystander and the suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Johnathon Altland, were also injured in the incident, Gilbert police said Friday.

Officials said early Friday that a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy was involved in a pursuit that started in Eloy. The suspect was being stopped for allegedly speeding, Team 12's Mitch Carr reported Friday.

Carr said Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told him the pursuit began around 10:30 p.m. Thursday. Gilbert Police said Friday morning that the pursuit began on State Route 87 north of Eloy. 

Altland allegedly fled from the attempted traffic stop and shot at the deputy, officials claimed early Friday. 

The pursuing deputy is OK, officials said.

Chandler community calls Farrar a hero

The pursuit continued into Chandler, where police said the suspect drove into the Chandler Municipal Airport. 

Airport officials told 12 News the suspect busted through a gate near a helicopter section of the airport, and busted through a fence on their way out. 

Airport officials said at no point was the airport closed, or airport traffic impacted, despite what Gilbert police told reporters Friday morning. 

Police said after the suspect left the airport, they went the wrong way on the Loop 202 San Tan. The person eventually crashed near the Val Vista Drive eastbound on-ramp, Gilbert police said early Friday.

Gilbert police said the person then fled on foot into the San Tan Ford dealership lot after crashing their vehicle and allegedly stole a vehicle and attempted to flee.

Officials from Pinal County, the state Department of Public Safety and the Chandler and Gilbert police departments then surrounded the building.

The Gilbert Police Department said the person then struck Farrar, Gilbert Police officer Rico Aranda and a janitorial employee at the dealership. 

Aranda has been with the department since 2018. 

Gilbert police say Aranda is still in critical condition, but stable, and he has shown signs of improvement.

The employee suffered minor injuries.

The department also said three troopers were injured, but did not elaborate on how they were injured. They all suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The Department of Public Safety told 12 News all of their troopers have since been released from the hospital. 

Gilbert Police said three Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies and four DPS troopers shot at the person, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken into custody.

No one else involved was immediately identified.

WATCH: Gilbert officer in critical condition after overnight pursuit that killed Chandler officer

Gov, Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Friday in honor of Farrar. 

“Law enforcement personnel like Officer Christopher Farrar put their lives on the line to protect others and keep our communities safe,” Ducey said in a statement Friday. 

“We are incredibly heartbroken that a criminal’s senseless actions took his life and injured other innocent people."

The Arizona Department of Transportation said the westbound lanes of the Loop 202 San Tan were closed between Val Vista and Cooper as a result of the incident.

The freeway was reopened before 5:30 a.m.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said early Friday that the closure was due to a criminal investigation that occurred in the area of the San Tan Ford dealership.

The Gilbert Police Department is leading the investigation, the department said. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Aranda's hospital expenses. 

Altland is facing charges including murder, aggravated assault and auto theft.

This is a developing situation. Stay tuned to 12 News for the latest. 

Credit: 12 News/Nick Perez