Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to an incident that started when a Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to complete a vehicle stop on April 29, 2021. ABC 15 reports that “agencies responded to the SanTan Motorplex in Gilbert overnight for a police incident that left one officer dead and multiple other injured.” According to the report, the pursuit started around 10 p.m. “on SR 87 near Eloy; the driver fled and fired shots at the deputy who was in pursuit.”
The suspect reportedly took the pursuit “through the Chandler Airport gates, driving onto the runway and prompting a closure of the airport.” The chase doesn’t end at the airport as the reckless driver “then drove the wrong way on Loop 202 SanTan before crashing near the SanTan Motorplex in Gilbert.”
The driver fled the Ford dealership crash site in a stolen vehicle. Before fleeing the SanTan Motorplex, the driver allegedly “hit two officers and a dealership employee.” One of the officers, Rico Aranda of the Gilbert Police Department, is in critical condition with a serious head injury. Sadly, the other officer, Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar, passed away at the hospital from his injuries.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar. Officer Farrar was struck and killed by a suspect driving a stolen vehicle earlier this evening. He was a 18-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department. pic.twitter.com/msQ19LT70L
— Chandler Police (@ChandlerPolice) April 30, 2021
The Chandler Police Department tweeted, saying, “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar. Officer Farrar was struck and killed by a suspect driving a stolen vehicle earlier this evening; He was an 18-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department.”
The report indicated three additional Arizona DPS troopers and the dealership employee were treated at the hospital for injuries sustained during the pursuit. Seven officers from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Public Safety returned fire with the driver. The suspect sustained “non-life-threatening injuries” and is in custody.
Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan spoke to the press, describing the driver as a “violent felon.” Chief Duggan said, “I knew Chris. I can tell you that every day he came to work, he made a difference; throughout the course of his 18 years, he touched many lives. I just ask that you keep Chris’s family in your thoughts and prayers. Just take a moment and remember the brave men and women who are out there daily helping to keep our community safe.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey released a statement saying, “Law enforcement personnel like Officer Christopher Farrar put their lives on the line to protect others and keep our communities safe. We are incredibly heartbroken that a criminal’s senseless actions took his life and injured other innocent people.”
A candlelight vigil was held on May 1, 2021, for the fallen officer. Reports from AZfamily.com say Hundreds gathered on Saturday night to celebrate his life. Retired Chandler Police officer Earlonzo Houge said, “Chris was definitely a wonderful person, law enforcement officer and community leader.”
This is an ongoing investigation with multiple agencies cooperating. We will update as more information becomes available.