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Police: Kenneth Hearne was suspect in violent sexual assault before he shot a Scottsdale sergeant

"The whole purpose was to bring a violent offender off the road so he could not victimize another person," said a lieutenant with the department.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Kenneth Hearne, who died after a shootout with police on Jan. 7, was the primary suspect in a violent sexual assault investigation, the Scottsdale Police Department said.

Hearne was shot and killed in Tempe after he reportedly shot a Scottsdale police officer in Phoenix on Jan. 6.

"The whole purpose was to bring a violent offender off the road so he could not victimize another person," said Lt. Lee Campbell, who oversees investigations into violent crimes, human trafficking and domestic violence reports.

The two shootings are the result of a violent sexual assault that Scottsdale police began investigating on Oct. 12. The assault reportedly happened at the San Marin Luxury Suites & Apartments complex near Old Town Scottsdale. 

During the investigation, officers gathered evidence through interviews with acquaintances that put Hearne at the scene during the crime.

Officers reportedly tried to contact Hearne multiple times, but Hearne did not respond. Police found out where Hearne was located at an apartment in Phoenix and moved to detain him.

Police served a search warrant in the complex and were met at the front door by a woman and child who told police no one else was home. Officers said while they removed the mother and child from the home, they recognized someone they believed to be the suspect in the hallway.

Hearne reportedly ducked inside a room and started firing a gun through the wall, striking an SAU sergeant. Officers and the suspect engaged in gunfire when the officer was shot. Hearne then hopped over a second-story balcony and fled from the scene.

"Kenneth knew we were looking for him, and he was avoiding police contact," Campbell said. "He refused to speak with us."

Phoenix police said they arrested Hearne after a shootout in Tempe near Baseline and Rural roads. Hearne was injured in the shootout and was transferred to a local hospital, where he later died.  

The injured sergeant, Scott Galbraith, was released from the hospital and returned home for his continued recovery, Scottsdale police announced on Jan. 8.

Galbraith is a supervisor with Scottsdale police's Special Assignment Unit, which a police spokesman described as "basically [their] full-time SWAT Team." Galbraith has been with the department for 19 years.

The Tempe Police Department is investigating the incident.

This is a developing story. Please return to 12News for updates. 

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