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Arizona officer, suspect killed in shootout

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. >> A 24-year-old police officer and a suspect died after a shootout Saturday afternoon.

Officer Tyler Stewart, 24, died at Flagstaff Medical Center after he was shot by a man involved in a domestic-violence case, police said.

Stewart was looking for the man about 1:30 p.m. in the 800 block of West Clay Avenue when the man — identified as Robert W. Smith, 28, of Prescott — fired several shots at the officer, police said. The suspect then shot himself and was pronounced dead at the scene, police added.

Stewart was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center in critical condition and later died, police said.

Police had said earlier that they were looking for another person involved in the domestic violence case, the Arizona Republic reported. But police would not comment on that person’s involvement in the incident, the Republic reported.

Stewart had worked at the department for less than a year, police said. He was a graduate of Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Arizona, and Concordia College in California.

“This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our Officer. We are a very close knit organization, and know that all members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our Officer Tyler Stewart,” Chief Kevin Treadway said in a statement.

“It is heartbreaking to lose one of our officers,” Mayor Jerry Nabours said. “We collectively mourn for his family and the entire department.”

The shooting was the second one of a police officer in northern Arizona in the past three months. In October, a tribal police officer of the Navajo Nation was shot in the face during a shootout with a male suspect in the town of Kaibeto, which is 75 miles north of Flagstaff. The officer survived.

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