On August 28 around 8:30 p.m., those who retired early at the Days Inn motel in northern Phoenix, west of Interstate 17, suffered a rude awakening. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle and with incendiary devices, 24-year-old Isaiah Steven Williams is said to have exited the motel and started shooting.
The incident may have lasted for only five minutes, but "felt like an eternity," one witness told KPNX. He had been in his motel room when a volley of bullets came crashing through the wall and window.
The suspect reportedly fired over 100 rounds.
Police indicated that the shooter was dressed in full tactical gear, wearing both a carrier vest and Kevlar helmet. In addition to being equipped with multiple magazines, he also had a gas mask in his possession.
Outside, Williams allegedly began firing into the motel as well as into other businesses. He also is said to have thrown a Molotov cocktail at the neighboring Waffle House; however, it did not catch fire. He then shot at a car that pulled into an adjacent parking lot, killing both the man and the woman inside.
When police first arrived at the scene, the shooter targeted their vehicle. Raking the car with rounds, he hit one of the police officers in the shoulder. The second officer, who had been wounded by shrapnel, got out of the cruiser and returned fire.
Williams, whose demise was captured on surveillance footage, attempted to retreat across the parking lot, but is said by authorities ultimately to have committed suicide.
In the shootout, three other bystanders were injured, including Wesley Williams (not related to the shooter).
Williams told AZ Family that he had been staying in a room with his son and 6-year-old daughter when he heard what he figured to be fireworks. He sought out the source of the noise and got shot through a steel door. He indicated that he had been hit in the face and that the bullet had not yet been removed. "When I first got shot, I went back in and woke him up, my son up, had him call 911, and got my 6-year-old put down in a corner."
As for the pain, he added: "It hurts but it's not that bad, I guess, could be worse. I'm not dead."
Both police officers injured in the shootout were taken to a hospital. One was released on Monday, and the other is reportedly in stable condition.
Motive still a mystery for Phoenix shooting rampageyoutu.be
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams told reporters: "Once again, this is another example of gun violence in our community. ... How many more officers have to be shot? How many more community members have to be killed before those in our community take a stand? This is not a Phoenix police issue, this is a community issue. If not now, when?"
AZ Family reported that 21 Arizona police officers have been shot in the line of duty so far this year. Although Williams' motive is still unclear, this latest attack on law enforcement has drawn attention to four previous ambush-style shootings in Phoenix this year.
Among the ambushes was the incident on February 11, where several officers were targeted after responding to a call alleging that a woman had been shot. Nine officers were wounded in the ambush, including four who were trying to save a baby abandoned on the steps of the ambusher's residence.
On March 13, police were ambushed when attempting a traffic stop. Chief Williams said that the officers were targeted by "someone hiding in the darkness, literally trying to pick our officers off."
A 40-year-old police officer, Denise Bruce-Jones, was shot on April 14 when responding to a call in which a woman claimed her boyfriend was acting erratically.
According to a report issued by the National Fraternal Order of Police, as of July 31, 210 officers had been shot in the line of duty. That is a 14% increase over 2021's figure. Of the 210 shot, 39 were killed by gunfire.
Not including the incident in Phoenix on Sunday or other such incidents in August, there have been 46 ambush-style attacks targeting police nationwide in 2022, resulting in 18 officer deaths.
In a state-by-state comparison, the NFOP noted that Arizona is second for the highest number of officers shot in the line of duty this year.