PHOENIX — Nine officers were injured and two civilians were killed, including the suspect, in a shootout at a home in South Phoenix early Friday morning.
"This has to stop," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said in a news briefing Friday afternoon.
The incident started around 2 a.m. when officers went to a home near Broadway Road and 51st Avenue after a caller told a 911 operator that a woman, later identified as Shatifah Lobley, 29, had been shot by an intruder and there were multiple armed suspects inside the house.
According to police, the first officer to get there saw a man, later identified as Morris Jones, 36, standing in the doorway directing the officer to the victim inside.
As the officer got close to the door, police said Jones fired a handgun and shot the officer multiple times. The injured officer was able to back away and find cover. A second officer on scene returned fire, causing Jones to go back into the home, according to police.
Other officers arrived and set up a perimeter around the home. Jones fired more shots from inside the home in the direction of the officers, police said.
Police said Jones then got into a vehicle parked in the garage and tried to leave by ramming a patrol car that was blocking his escape. When he was unsuccessful, he went back into the home.
At one point, a man walked into the doorway holding a 1-month-old baby in one hand with his other hand raised in the air. Not knowing who he was, officers ordered the man to put the baby down and walk backward toward them. Police said the man did as he was told and was detained. Investigators said the man was later identified as Lobley's brother and said he lived at the home.
When officers went to the front door to rescue the baby, police said Jones opened fire on them. Police said four officers were hit by bullets and four others were wounded by fragments or ricochets. When the officers backed away and took cover, police said one of the officers returned fire.
Police said the Special Assignments Unit arrived and rescued the infant by using ballistic shields. Jones also fired shots at the SAU officers during the barricade, according to investigators.
Officers tried to get Jones to come outside and when he didn't respond, officers used a camera to look in the home and saw Jones was not moving. They went inside and found Jones and Lobley, Jones’ ex-girlfriend, both shot. Neither one survived their injuries, police said.
Police all of the officers that were hospitalized have been treated and released.
The baby at the scene was uninjured and is currently in DCS custody.
Police said Jones and Lobley were formerly in a relationship and the baby was theirs.
Phoenix police say Jones spent time in Oklahoma. In 12 News’ search, we found a man with the same name and age who’s been in and out of prison for both stealing a car and various weapons charges.
In Arizona, Jones and Lobley were arrested together by Border Patrol for helping illegal immigrants enter the United States in 2020. The pair pleaded guilty to the charges in that case.
In a media briefing, Mayor Kate Gallego expressed her support for the officers, saying, "A baby is safe today because of our officers."
"To every officer on the team, I say thank you," Gallego said.
Chief Williams asked the public to be patient as investigators piece together what happened Friday morning.
"I an I'm incredibly proud of our officers and I am proud to serve the community," Williams said.
A woman, who identified herself as the mother-in-law of Jones, said her daughter and the suspect have been married for a couple of years.
“A lot of lives have been affected by what has happened,” she said.
The woman asked not to be identified out of concern for her daughter and her family.
She said her daughter recognized that Jones was struggling through issues and pressures of life and had made an appointment for a mental health evaluation this upcoming Tuesday for him.
“She recognized it as life became harder for him, she recognized, ‘You know what, this is an issue, this is a problem. We need to fix this,’” the woman said.
“I’m not trying to whitewash what he’s done, because everybody knows that this is horrific,” she said.
While there are many questions for the family about what happened Friday morning, the woman believes that mental health intervention might have helped her daughter’s husband.
“His mind process at that time, his mind space at that time, and where he was at that time you know? What I’m saying is what was going on through his mind, you know what I’m saying, that he came down to, ‘This is how it’s going to end for me,’” she said.
To get through the tragic events, the woman said her family will be supporting her daughter and kids while also recognizing others affected by the tragedy – including the officers, their families, the people who were inside the house, and their families.
She added her daughter doesn’t condone what Jones did and asks the community to recognize the hurt she’s going through, too.
“If they can just send prayers out to her, you know so that she knows that she has some support.”
Community woken up by rapid gunfire
The chaotic situation unfolded in the early morning hours in a family neighborhood, where many were woken up by gunfire and commotion.
“When you’re asleep and that wakes up, you don’t know if you’re dreaming or if it’s really happening,” said Elisa Esquer. “After I heard the second one, I said ‘no this is something else, is something serious’ and at that point, I [could] hear the shooting.”
Some residents said they heard 30 to 40 bullets, outside their windows.
“It was so close, the projectiles,” said Austin Michaels. “I could almost feel the air coming off of them when they fly over you.”
Authorities told some families to stay in their homes, while they evacuated others.
“The cops had come and told us to stay inside because there’s an active situation and they were going to deploy tear gas, Elizabeth Venegas. “To stay inside and don’t go anywhere.”
Neighbors said they worried a stray bullet could have injured one of their loved ones while keeping the victims of the situation in mind.
“I think about the family of the gal that got shot, and that child,” said Michaels. “I just don’t have an answer, it’s tough.”
Families said they had tough conversations with their children after the situation that unfolded feet away from their doorsteps.
“I’m just honest and tell him don’t ever play with guns,” said Venegas. “Police do their job, you have to be nice to them too, they are not all bad.”
Arizona's Silent Witness program allows people to send in tips and share information about crimes happening within their local communities.
The program shares unsolved felony case information in multiple ways, including TV, radio and social media.
Anyone who has information on a crime or recognizes a suspect described by the program is asked to call 480-948-6377, go to the program's website online or download the Silent Witness app to provide a tip. The identity of anyone who submits a tip is kept anonymous.
Calls to Silent Witness are answered 24/7 by a live person and submitted tips are accepted at all times. Submitted tips are then sent to the detective(s) in charge of the specific case.
Individuals who submit tips that lead to an arrest or indictment in the case can get a reward of up to $1,000.
Latest Arizona News
Catch up on the latest news and stories on our 12 News YouTube playlist here.