On August 16, 2018 at approximately 8:00 pm, while patrolling his assigned beat area, Phoenix Police Officer Adrian Cruz observed a westbound vehicle speeding and driving aggressively on East Cactus Road from North 32nd Street. After pacing the vehicle, which was traveling at 60 miles per hour, Officer Cruz activated his emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop, however the vehicle continued westbound at a high rate of speed. Eventually, the vehicle slowed down, but refused to yield and Officer Cruz activated his siren as he continued to follow the vehicle. Without warning, the vehicle suddenly stopped in the trafficway just east of the intersection of East Cactus Road and North Cave Creek Road.
Officer Cruz exited from his patrol vehicle and almost immediately upon contacting the driver and lone occupant of the vehicle, he was shot in the upper left shoulder. Despite his injury, Officer Cruz was able to move to a position of cover behind his Tahoe and cleared on the radio that he had been shot. The suspect exited from his vehicle and continued to shoot at Officer Cruz as he advanced towards him. Officer Cruz, who was in extreme pain and having difficulty breathing, made a tactical move and saw the suspect continuing to move towards him with his gun drawn.
At this point, Officer Cruz, who was crouching and on his knee due to the pain, exchanged gunfire with the suspect as he moved to Officer Cruz’s left side. From a distance of a few yards, Officer Cruz exchanged gunfire with the suspect, hitting him multiple times, stopping the attempt on his life. Officer Cruz, who by this time was unable to stand and lying on his side, held the downed suspect at gunpoint while asking citizens who had come to his aid to move out of the area for their own safety.
Officer Cruz was transported to Honor Health John C. Lincoln Medical Center, where he was treated for the initial gunshot wound to his shoulder and a partially collapsed lung, and was released to go home a week later.
PLEA President Britt London submitted an account Officer Cruz’s shooting to the National Association of Police Organizations, NAPO, for a potential TOP COPS award due to his heroic and decisive actions under fire after being critically injured. On February 25, 2019, NAPO informed PLEA that Officer Cruz was a winner of one of the ten prestigious TOP COPS awards and he will be recognized with other TOP COPS from across the nation on May 12th in Washington, DC during National Police Week.
PLEA would like to acknowledge Officer Cruz’s actions during a critical critical incident where he not only took action to save his own life, but also continued to protect the community from an extremely dangerous felon who chose to ambush a Phoenix Police Officer who was doing his job to keep his community safe.
CLICK HERE to read the letter from NAPO Executive Director William “Bill Johnson” acknowledging Officer Cruz.