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'This could have been far, far worse': Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams thankful officers are alive, recovering from 'senseless act'

Nine Phoenix police officers were injured in South Phoenix on Friday after they were called to help a woman who was shot.

PHOENIX — One Phoenix police officer is still in the hospital after he and eight other officers were injured Friday morning.

RELATED: 9 officers hurt, suspect and woman dead after shootout at Phoenix home

The situation started with calls of a woman shot and escalated to shots exchanged with the suspect and a standoff.

Ultimately, Phoenix police said the suspect, 36-year-old Morris Jones, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and the woman police were originally called to help, 29-year-old Shatifah Lobley, died of her injuries.

‘Their hearts were in the right place’ 

On Monday, Phoenix police Chief Jeri Williams said she had a chance to talk with the officers injured, and said they’re in "great spirits."

“They’re thankful that they’re still alive they’re appreciative for all of the support that we’ve received,” Williams said.

During the situation, Lobley’s brother brought out Lobley and Jones’ one-month-old baby to safety.

While officers tried to rescue the baby, police said Jones shot at them again.

Williams called her officers heroes. “Their hearts were in the right place to try to save the victim, trying to save the baby,” Williams said.

Five of her officers were shot during the incident, another four of them injured by shrapnel.

A Phoenix police spokesperson said the officers that were injured have been with the department anywhere from two years to 20 years. All of them are expected to survive their injuries.

The officer who is still in the hospital has three years of experience. The spokesperson said he was the officer who arrived first on scene and was invited by Jones to come towards the home to help Lobley. That’s when police said Jones shot him.

“This could have been far, far worse, I'm thankful that it isn't,” Williams said.

A "senseless" act

Williams said this is a situation where her officers had the intention to go and help someone who needed it, but were instead, shot at.

“It was a senseless act, it didn’t have to happen the way it did,” Williams said.

On Friday, Williams called for repeat offenders to be held accountable by the judicial system for their actions.

In 12 News’ search, a man by the same name and age as Jones has been in and out of the prison system for crimes including stealing a car and weapons charges out of Oklahoma.

In Arizona, Jones and Lobley pleaded guilty after they were caught by Border Patrol agents transporting illegal immigrants into the United States in 2020.

“We need to hold people accountable that need to be held accountable,” Williams said. “Get the guns out of hands of individuals who have a blatant disrespect for human life.”

Mental health concerns

Jones’ mother-in-law told 12 News on Friday that his wife had concerns about his mental health before the incident, and had made an appointment for this week to have him evaluated.

“She recognized 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 mother-in-law said. 

Jones’ wife was not in the house during the incident. The mother-in-law said the two live in a different home together.

“For anyone to do anything like this, there has to be some type of mental illness going on,” she said.

Williams said any communication that might have been had with Jones during the incident, and his mental state are all a part of the ongoing investigation.

However, Williams reiterated accountability is needed.

‘We as a society really need to make sure we work together to hold people accountable and to get them to the help that they need to get. But any individuals like that should not have firearms with them. So we need to work on how to make that a reality and then get folks to help that they need to get so this incident doesn't happen again,” Williams said.

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