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Officer ambushed? Gunfire rings out during Phoenix traffic stop

PHOENIX -- A police officer and suspect are in critical condition after exchanging gunfire Thursday night in north Phoenix, reports the CBS affiliate here, KPHO-TV. Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said the officer pulled over a vehicle for a traffic stop and, once he left his cruiser, the suspect inside opened fire, shooting at least twice.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said the officer returned fire. She believes the officer was ambushed.

Williams said the officer's training kicked in and he was able to move out of the way before more harm was done.

Fortune said the officer and the suspect were taken to a hospital, where both are in critical condition. Neither was identified.

Williams said the suspect was still in surgery as of 10:30 p.m. local time and the officer was being monitored.

"It's one of those things, we say it a lot. We don't know what's going to happen when you put on your uniform that night and so you come to work and you hope for the best," Fortune said. "Understanding that not everyone wants to cause you harm but you just never know.

"This is an incident where I guarantee you, the officer had that in the back of his mind and unfortunately, this happened to him tonight."

Williams said the officer has been with the department for about a year and a half and  is one of its younger officers.

"We're asking for the community's thoughts and prayers on the recovery of one of our brave men and women in blue," Williams said.

According to Williams, this was the 34th officer-involved shooting in Phoenix.

"We've had an increase in the number of firearms that have been associated with our officer-involved shootings," Williams said.

She said there has also been a 45 percent increase in aggravated assaults on Phoenix police officers.

"I know right now, Phoenix Police Department has a problem with people who are being aggressive toward our officers," Williams said.

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