Goodyear police have been busy since Sunday night trying to arrest a man who threatened his girlfriend with a gun and then forced someone to drive him to the Avondale area.
Now, the suspect appears to have been shot by officers in Buckeye, following a daylong search that went from Avondale to Surprise and then to Buckeye.
Christopher Mendoza, 34, was wanted by Goodyear police on multiple counts of aggravated assault, threatening and intimidating, threatening leading to an evacuation, kidnapping, disorderly conduct and weapons misconduct.
Goodyear police had tracked Mr. Mendoza to a home near 109th Avenue and 4th Street in Avondale on Sunday night, but he reportedly fled and has not been located.
Around 1:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, Goodyear police responded to a disturbance call at Walmart, near Interstate 10 and Estrella Parkway. Arriving officers learned Mr. Mendoza had threatened his girlfriend with a gun. Police said he was uncooperative and reached for a gun. Mr. Mendoza then ran out the back doors of the store and fled into a neighborhood.
Police said Mr. Mendoza confronted a man in a vehicle and kidnapped him at gunpoint, demanding a ride to Litchfield Road and MC 85 in Avondale.
Around 10 p.m. Sunday, police said officers had tried to make a traffic stop on a vehicle believed to be occupied by Mr. Mendoza. However, the vehicle failed to yield and fled. Officers followed the vehicle until a male occupant exited and ran from police. The person, believed to be Mr. Mendoza, entered a home in the area of 109th Avenue and 4th Street. The man barricaded himself in the home, with Goodyear SWAT and Crisis Negotiators responding.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, to include Phoenix and Glendale, also assisted.
However, around 5 a.m. Monday, police sent out an email saying the suspect fled on foot and got past a police perimeter.
A Phoenix helicopter and K-9 units from Goodyear and Glendale searched for him with negative results.
As of 3:30 a.m. Monday, Mr. Mendoza was still at large. Then around 9 a.m., police said they were responding to another barricade situation in the area, likely involving Mr. Mendoza.
However, police determined he was no longer at the residence. Surprise police on Monday afternoon said they were assisting Goodyear police with a search for a suspect in the area of Cotton Lane and Greenway Road. Goodyear police confirmed they received a tip that Mr. Mendoza may be at a home in Surprise. Police are currently following up on that tip.
Later Monday, Buckeye police said an officer was involved in a shooting near Verrado Way and Lower Buckeye Road. According to reports, an off-duty officer shot a man believed to be Christopher Mendoza. He was taken to a hospital. His injuries and condition are unknown, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the OIS.
No one else was hurt.