Armed robbery in Avondale leads to officer-involved shooting in Phoenix

Jeremiah Triplett, Sariah Busani (MCSO)

Phoenix police said a suspect is dead while three others face several charges after an armed robbery in Avondale led to an officer-involved shooting.

The incident started around midnight Friday at the Whataburger near Dysart Road and Van Buren Street.

On Thursday, Phoenix police received information about some individuals who may have been responsible for a number of armed robberies in the Valley.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said surveillance was conducted on the subjects and officers ventured to the Avondale fast food restaurant where they saw the suspected subjects committing an armed robbery.

Police followed the suspect vehicle to 91st Avenue and Camelback Road, about 10 miles from the robbery.

The vehicle was stopped near the intersection. A male suspect exited but refused to comply with officers, police said. He then allegedly pulled out a weapon and pointed it at police. At least two officers fired their guns, striking the suspect. He was taken to a hospital with extremely critical injuries but later died. He was identified as Jacob Michael Harris, 19.

Police found Jeremiah Lynn Triplett, 20, Sariah Christine Busani, 19, and a 14-year-old boy in the vehicle. All three were arrested and face several charges.

Camelback Road between 91st and 95th avenues was closed while police investigated. Anyone trying to get to Copper Canyon High School in Glendale may have been affected.

The incident is the first officer shooting in 2019 involving Phoenix police. It is the second in the Phoenix-area following a Fountain Hills incident involving a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office sergeant.

The Avondale robbery is not the first this year at a Valley Whataburger. The Daily News-Sun learned of an armed robbery around Jan. 2 at the Peoria location near 91st Avenue and Bell Road.

An employee reported being robbed when an unknown suspect entered and was seen waving a weapon. The suspect later fled. Another robbery at that location appears to have occurred Jan. 5.

Peoria police have not responded to requests for information about either incident.

UPDATE: On Jan. 15, Phoenix police identified the officers as Kristopher Bertz, 33, and David Norman, 46. They have 12 and 21 years of experience, respectively, with the Phoenix Police Department.

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