06/02/2008

Officer Down: Officer Erik Hite

Officer Down: Officer Erik Hite - [Tucson, Arizona]

Age: 43

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Officer Erik Hite succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained the previous day by a suspect who was fleeing deputies from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

The suspect had shot and wounded two deputies who had responded to two homes that the suspect had fired a rifle into. The suspect then fled the home in a vehicle, with one of the wounded deputies in pursuit.

During the pursuit the suspect suddenly made a U-turn and fired at Officer Hite, who was sitting in his patrol car.

The suspect continued to flee but stopped his vehicle a short time later and surrendered.

Officer Hite was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Tucson Police Department for 4 years. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter, and parents.


 

Officer shot in weekend Ariz. shooting spree dies

Related story: Ariz. officer on life support after pursuit shooting

The Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — A police officer who was shot in the head during a crosstown chase and shooting spree died Monday, authorities said.

Officer Erik Hite, 43, was struck during an hour-long pursuit Sunday of a camouflage-dressed gunman who shot at homes from a car. Two Pima County sheriff's deputies were also shot and wounded less seriously.

Hite, 43, died at University Medical Center, police spokesman Sgt. Mark Robinson said. Hite joined the police force four years ago after 21 years in the Air Force.

David Nickolas Delich is charged with suspicion of first-degree murder. Delich, 25, had previously been booked on suspicion of four counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of discharging a firearm at a structure.

A magistrate on Monday ordered Delich jailed on $2.5 million bond, half the amount prosecutor David Berkman requested.

Investigators believe Delich confronted a neighbor several weeks ago, which may have led to his firing several dozen rounds Sunday into the neighbor's home and another next door.

The shots and calls to 911 triggered a cross-town chase by sheriff's deputies and police and resulted in Hite's shooting.

Attorney Brick Storts, who appeared Delich's behalf Monday, said the dispute with neighbors may have played a role. "I do know there was a confrontation with some neighbors, and that may well be what started this whole series of events," Storts said.

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