close
close

Police officer Joshua Briese of Gila River, Arizona, killed in shooting

play

According to local authorities, a police officer who was called to a domestic dispute early Saturday morning and a woman were killed in Santan (District 4) of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona.

Joshua Briese, who had been with the police force for less than a year, and another officer responded to a disturbance call involving a large crowd, the Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported. Several shots were fired and both officers were hit, Gila River police wrote in a Facebook post.

Both police officers were taken to hospital. Briese succumbed to his injuries, while the other officer, whose identity has not yet been determined, was in serious but stable condition, according to police.

Four other people were hit by gunfire. The deceased woman was identified as 23-year-old Alicen Apkaw, said Stephen Roe Lewis, governor of the Gila River Indian Community. He did not provide a time of death. The other three people who were shot were treated in area hospitals.

Two suspects were arrested Sunday by the FBI's Phoenix field office and Gila River police. Officials identified them as a man and a teenager but did not release their names. They said both people were receiving medical treatment for injuries they sustained in the shooting.

“I know I speak for our entire community when I say we mourn our fallen and injured police officers and every community member affected by such tragic violence,” Lewis said. “Nothing hurts more deeply than a life ending prematurely. We will be praying for our police officers and their families, and for every community member, loved one and family affected by what happened this morning.”

Here you can find out everything you need to know about the incident.

Officers killed in the line of duty: Authorities say 4 police officers were killed in North Carolina while executing an arrest warrant

Who was Joshua Briese?

Briese was the son of former Yellowstone County Sheriff David Briese, who also died in the line of duty.

According to the sheriff's office, David Briese was killed in a car crash on Interstate 90 in Billings, Montana in November 2006 while responding to a 911 call for a police officer dealing with a belligerent, impaired driver.

The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on the death of Joshua Brieses:

“YCSO is heartbroken and cannot believe it when it received news this morning of the passing of Gila River, Arizona Police Officer Josh Briese, known to many of us as Joshie,” the statement said. “All we can do is God bless you and rest in peace. We know Dave and Josh are back together. They both left this world serving their community and doing what they loved. Rest in peace.”

Maricopa County District Attorney Rachel Mitchell also issued a statement: “The fact that Joshua's father, David, also lost his life in the line of duty adds to the immense debt we owe to their family. I continue to pray for the recovery of the other injured officer.”

Where did the Gila River shootout take place?

Luisa Gomez, a member of the Gila River Tribe, was awakened by sirens related to the shooting just blocks from her home. Gomez said the civilians injured and killed in the shooting were related to her and that the shooting occurred at a teenager's birthday party.

“It's not that dangerous here…” said Gomez. “Normally it's pretty quiet here.”

Roberto Jackson, communications director for the Gila River Indian Community, declined to provide further details Saturday afternoon, such as where the shooting occurred.

However, authorities closed both lanes of Moffett Road south of State Route 87 on Saturday. A heavy police presence was seen nearby, including a mobile dispatch center. About six police vehicles were seen near the closure as FBI investigators investigated the crime scene at a residence about a half-mile south of Moffett Road and SR 87.

Community bans all dances after shooting

On Saturday night, Lewis called a special meeting with the Gila River Indian Community Council. According to documents posted on the community's Facebook page, community leaders voted in favor of a moratorium on all dances, effective immediately.

According to the documents, anyone hosting or attending a dance in the community could be arrested for disturbing the peace and trespassing. Anyone hosting a dance faces forfeiture of their property, and anyone playing music at a dance faces a $1,000 fine and risks confiscation of their instruments.