Cops: 3 injured Phoenix police officers 'targeted' by motorist

Three Phoenix police officers were hit by a vehicle outside a local gas station. Surveillance video shows a vehicle pulling out of a parking space, circling the parking lot and then accelerating toward the police officers.

PHOENIX — A man accused of striking three police officers with his vehicle at a Phoenix QuikTrip early Tuesday has been identified as 44-year-old Marc LaQuon Payne.

An angry Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner played a video showing a vehicle pulling out of a parking space, circling the parking lot and then accelerating toward the police officers outside the convenience store.

In an early-afternoon press conference, Yahner said two officers were seriously injured and the driver will be booked on three charges of attempted first-degree murder.

"I’m very proud of the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department, and I'm outraged by this incident," Yahner said.

“Our Phoenix police officers were targeted."

A 33-year-old police officer who was on his first day of duty suffered a head injury, and a police sergeant, 41, suffered a broken leg. A third officer, 36, managed to jump out of the way but was injured during an extended struggle with the driver, Yahner said.

The video shows the rookie officer thrown several feet in the air and hitting the glass window of the QuikTrip. The officer, whom Yahner would identify only by his first name, Jeremy, then helped take Payne into custody, Yahner said.

The sergeant, who had fallen to the pavement, called for assistance, Yahner said.

The collision happened just before 2 a.m. local time at the store at 2535 W Camelback Road, just off Interstate 17.

The sergeant had met the rookie at the QuikTrip to talk about expectations of performance, Yahner said. The three officers were standing in the parking lot in front of the store — “a well-lit area,” he said.

About 1:45 a.m., the man pulled into the QuikTrip and backed into a parking space, where he sat for several minutes, Yahner said. He then pulled out of the space, rounded the parking lot and accelerated as he crashed into the officers and then into the store, Yahner said.

The surveillance video speaks volumes, Yahner said.

"We are confident that this is an intentional act," Yahner said. "This stuff needs to stop."

Yahner said he had spoken with two of the officers and the wife of the other.

"They were very thankful that God was watching them and they're OK," Yahner said.

Two clerks inside the Quik Trip were almost hit as the car slammed into the front of the convenience store, Yahner said. Payne also will be booked on suspicion of aggravated assault as a result, Yahner said.

The sergeant has 18 years of experience and the 36-year-old officer has eight years of experience, according to Sgt. Jonathan Howard, Phoenix police spokesman.

The three officers were taken to hospitals for treatment. The sergeant and the rookie officer, who suffered a concussion and other head injuries, were in serious condition, according to Capt. Rob McDade of the Phoenix Fire Department. The third officer was taken as a precaution, evaluated and released, McDade said.

The driver of the car also was taken to a hospital in serious condition, McDade said. Sgt. Jonathan Howard, a Phoenix police spokesman, said Payne had only been hospitalized for a short time and was in the process of being booked into jail Tuesday afternoon.

Officers believe impairment may have been a factor.

Follow Madison Alder on Twitter: @madialder


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