A bizarre and violent scene unfolded at the site of an automobile accident Thursday morning in Tonopah, Arizona, west of Phoenix. An Arizona state trooper responding to reports of gunfire came upon the scene, but while he was setting up flares, he was shot and then physically attacked. But a passing motorist saw what was going on and stopped to help, shooting the assailant and probably saving the officer’s life. The assailant has died.
Trooper Edward Andersson, a 27-year veteran, was responding to a 911 call Thursday at 4:30 am, after someone reported shots fired at their car from a highway median on Interstate-10. Once there, he found a car that had rolled over, throwing the woman driving it from the vehicle. Andersson was investigating the scene when he was shot in the shoulder. The shooter then bum rushed the officer. "The suspect is getting the better of the trooper and is on top of him and striking the trooper's head on the pavement," according to DPS Director Frank Milstead in an interview with CBS affiliate KPHO.
Fortunately for Andersson, a man driving to California with his wife saw the trooper in distress, and pulled over to help. "The trooper says, 'Please help me,' and asks the uninvolved third party for help," said Milstead. "That person retreats back to his vehicle, removes his own weapon from the vehicle, confronts the suspect, giving him orders to stop assaulting the officer. The suspect refuses. The uninvolved third party fires, striking and killing the suspect."
Andersson was air-lifted to a local hospital and is currently recovering, following surgery. The woman who was in the initial accident, and was also air-lifted out, was pronounced dead at the hospital. The investigation is ongoing, and a motive for the attack is unknown. Police say the good Samaritan who stopped to help Trooper Andersson is fully cooperating with authorities, and they’re thankful he came to their fellow officer’s aid.
Said Milstead, "I don't know that my trooper would be alive today without his assistance."