Suspect in slaying critically wounded in rest-stop shootout - InfoNews

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Suspect in slaying critically wounded in rest-stop shootout

This photo provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety shows a bullet riddled vehicle after a suspect in a Phoenix homicide was involved in a shootout with law enforcement officers at a rest area Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in western Arizona. The suspect was was critically wounded. The incident at the rest area, located in the desert approximately 95 miles west of Phoenix, closed a 36-mile stretch of westbound Interstate 10 in western Arizona over five hours Tuesday morning. The roadway has since reopened. (Arizona Department of Public Safety via AP)
November 28, 2017 - 2:31 PM

TONOPAH, Ariz. - A man accused of killing his neighbour later opened fire on an officer at a highway rest stop in the Arizona desert, setting off a shootout with law enforcement that left the suspect critically wounded, authorities said.

The gunbattle came after a truck driver on Interstate 10 reported being shot at, leaving him with minor injuries from metal or glass fragments. A state trooper who was looking for the suspect came upon the trucker, then pulled into the rest area, where he was met with gunfire, the Department of Public Safety said.

Multiple officers from several agencies responded to the shooting and took part in the gunfight, including state troopers, sheriff's deputies and Border Patrol agents. No officers were injured.

Authorities were still trying to determine if the suspect, Sladjan Petkovic, 36, had fired at the truck. It's not clear if officers wounded him or whether he shot himself, Department of Public Safety Capt. Tony Mapp said.

The shootout left Petkovic's SUV riddled with bullet holes, according to a photo on Facebook by the La Paz County Sheriff's Office. A helicopter flew him to a hospital, where he has life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

A 36-mile (58-kilometre) stretch of westbound Interstate 10, the main route between Phoenix and Los Angeles, was closed for over five hours Tuesday morning after the shooting at the rest area about 95 miles (153 kilometres) west of Phoenix. The closure backed up traffic for miles.

The trooper at the rest stop was looking for Petkovic after Phoenix police sent out a notice, Mapp said.

Petkovic is a suspect in the shooting death of neighbour Steven Arvallo during an argument Monday on the sidewalk outside Arvallo's home. The shooter then fired into Arvallo's house, but a woman and boy inside were not injured, Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard said.

Petkovic and Arvallo were neighbours and had an ongoing dispute of some sort, Howard said.

Arvallo was a longtime employee of the Arizona Department of Corrections. In an email to staff Tuesday, Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan called Steven Arvallo a loving son, husband and father who left behind a wife and two children.

The 45-year-old previously worked as a correctional K-9 officer until his retirement in October 2015. He later returned to work and was promoted to background investigator about a year ago.

Department spokesman Andrew Wilder said the agency would not comment further on the circumstances of Arvallo's death.

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This story has been corrected with the correct spelling of the victim's name.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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