Avondale, AZ – Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper Tyler Edenhofer was murdered in the line of duty on Wednesday, while responding to a call of a person throwing things onto the highway.
“The DPS family is in mourning. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Lives have been shattered and ruined. And we’re all in a little bit of a state of shock this morning,” Arizona DPS Director Colonel Frank Milstead told reporters at a press briefing early Thursday morning.
Trooper Edenhofer, who had graduated from the police academy less than three months before, was fatally shot just after 10:20 p.m. on July 25 when he responded to a call for a man who was throwing things onto the eastbound side of Interstate 10 near Avondale Boulevard, according to KPNX.
Col. Milstead said that suspect was in and out of the roadway while he threw things at passing cars, and that passing motorists stopped and attempted to get the man out of the highway.
First one trooper responded to the scene, and then two more arrived to back him up, KPNX reported.
Two officers from the Goodyear Police Department also arrived to assist in taking the suspect into custody, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Col. Milstead said the suspect got into a fight with responding troopers, and during the struggle, the suspect got ahold of one of the trooper’s guns.
"During the struggle, one of the troopers lost his firearm to the subject, and the subject fired at least two rounds from the duty weapon," he said.
The suspect then fired the weapon twice, striking two troopers, the colonel said.
Trooper Edenhofer, 24, was fatally shot, and DPS Trooper Dalin Dorris was shot and wounded in the arm near the shoulder.
Both troopers were transported to the hospital where Trooper Edenhofer was pronounced dead. Trooper Dorris was expected to survive his wound.
DPS Trooper Sean Rodecap, 32, was also injured in the fight with the suspect, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Police have not said what Trooper Rodecap’s injuries are, but said his injuries were not life threatening.
The suspect was taken into custody but has not been identified, DPS Spokesman Raul Garcia said, according to WNDU.
"He was a great man, my pride and joy! My whole life was him,” Trooper Edenhofer’s mother, Debbie Edenhofer, told The Arizona Republic. "My whole life was him."
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered all flags at state office buildings to be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Friday, in memory of the fallen trooper.
Edenhofer was the 88th law enforcement officer in the U.S. to die in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper Tyler Edenhofer, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Trooper Tyler Edenhofer, your life mattered.