Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said the incident occurred at 6:20 a.m. at the Chandler Wal-Mart located at 1175 S. Arizona Ave. The two officers had been shot by a man who was identified as Mitchell Oakley, 24.
“As they approached, they were shot multiple times within a matter of seconds. A seemingly routine call turned into a deadly encounter within a split second,” police Chief Sean Duggan said. Police described Oakley as a transient who had family in the area.
Officers were initially called to the store by a Wal-Mart employee who recognized Oakley as a trespasser.
Police Detective Seth Tyler spoke with media and stated: “When the first officer walked into the store, the suspect began firing at the officer immediately,” Tyler said, adding that police did not say how many shots were fired but did confirm the first officer was struck in the head. “You can call it what you want. It sounds like an ambush to me.”
Tyler said it’s unclear if the first officer was able to return fire, but he said the second officer who responded shot and killed the man,
Both officers sustained multiple gunshot wounds; a person at the store gave one of them first aid. One of the officers was shot in the face and underwent surgery at a local hospital.
Both officers are in stable condition.
Tyler confirmed Oakley’s criminal history; online records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show he was most recently released from the prison system in March 2015 for a 2013 conviction for destruction of a public jail.
Oakley was previously convicted in 2011 of attempted aggravated assault, for which he served a year in prison. He was also convicted in 2012 for unlawful use of means of transportation, for which he served a 1½-year sentence.