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Ariz. officer fatally shot trying to arrest jaywalker with criminal record

The Associated Press
Officer Down: Nick Erfle

PHOENIX, Ariz. — A Phoenix police officer was killed Tuesday by a man who was himself later fatally shot as he pointed a gun at a carjacking victim's head.

The officer, 33-year-old Nick Erfle, had been trying to arrest the suspect on a warrant when the two got into a fight. The suspect pulled his gun and fired, police spokesman Sgt. Joel Tranter said.

Watch video Phoenix, Ariz. Officer Nick Erfle was fatally shot in the line of duty, Tuesday, September 18, 2007.
As Erfle was taken to a hospital, police scrambled to find the suspect. The man had run away, flung open the passenger door of a car stopped in traffic, pointed his gun at the man inside, and told him to drive.

Officers found and stopped the car a short time later. As the officers approached, Tranter said, the suspect pointed the gun at the hostage's head.

Police killed the suspect in the car with a single shot. The hostage was not injured, police said.

Erfle, a married father of two and an eight-year veteran of the force, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

His fellow officers started arriving at the hospital to keep vigil.

"The citizens of Phoenix have lost another hero in our community," Assistant Police Chief Mike Frazier said.

Erfle grew up in central North Dakota, on a farm near Heaton, and graduated from Fessenden High School, said Wells County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Kluth.

This has been a particularly violent year for Valley police officers.

Officer Anthony Holly of the Glendale Police was shot and killed during a traffic stop in February. Phoenix Police Officer George Cortez Jr. was killed in July after responding to a call about a bad check.

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