Deputy Sheriff William Coleman Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona End of Watch: Sunday, January 8, 2012

Deputy Sheriff William Coleman | Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, ArizonaMaricopa County Sheriff's Office, Arizona

Deputy Sheriff William Coleman

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona
End of Watch: Sunday, January 8, 2012

Biographical Info

Age: 50
Tour of Duty: 20 years
Badge Number: 977

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: January 8, 2012
Weapon Used: Rifle
Suspect Info: Shot and killed

Agency Contact Information

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
100 West Washington
Suite 1900
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: (602) 876-1000

Deputy Sheriff William Coleman was shot and killed while responding to a burglary call in Anthem at approximately 4:15 am.
As he and another deputy arrived at the scene they encountered a male subject inside of a van at a medical building near the intersection of Anthem Way and Gavilan Peak Parkway. As they attempted to make contact with the man he opened fire on them with a rifle, striking Deputy Coleman below his vest. The suspect was killed by return gunfire from other deputies.
Deputy Coleman was transported to John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Deputy Coleman had served with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and several children.

As flags hung at half-mast Sunday in honor of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputy killed during a shootout in Anthem, investigators said they will probe whether the same man fatally shot a couple near Sedona two days earlier.

All three victims were killed with a high powered rifle, Interstate 17 connects the two homicide scenes, and the theory could explain the suspect’s fatal decision to open fire on three deputies Sunday, said Maricipa County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Sprong, a spokesman.

“That (a connection) is definitely something our investigators will look into,” Sprong said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out to be the same guy.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Sunday ordered flags at half-mast until sundown in honor of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy William Coleman, 50, the first deputy slain in the line of duty since 1995.

“This is a day of sadness for the Arizona law enforcement community, as we mourn the loss of (Coleman,)” Brewer said in a release. “This tragedy is one more example of the danger that our brave members of law enforcement confront on a daily basis. We owe them our gratitude.”

The Anthem incident began just after 4 a..m. Sunday when Coleman, working his last night shift, and two other deputies responded to a reported burglary at Angel Pediatrics at 3654 W. Anthem Way, Sprong said.

An apparently slumbering man and his pet pit bull were in a minivan parked outside when deputies arrived, Sprong said. The MCSO patrols Anthem, a master planned community roughly 20 miles north of central Phoenix.

“The suspect came out and started shooting at our deputies,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, speaking early Sunday from John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital. One of the deputies, Arpaio said, “returned fire and killed the suspect.”

“Unfortunately, one of our deputies was killed in the line of today,” Arpaio said. “It is extremely sad, for everyone. He was an excellent officer.”

Coleman wore a bullet proof vest, but such vests are no match for such weaponry, he said.

“Not when the (bad) guys carry semiautomatic weapons,” Arpaio said.

Deputies said they could not yet comment on how many times and where Coleman was shot.

Nor do they know, yet, what the suspect had stolen, if anything, and whether he has a criminal record. It’s difficult, at best, to know what was in the suspect’s mind, authorities said.

The name of the slain suspect has not been released.

“Number 1, there’s a war on against police,” said Arpaio. “We live in a violent world.”

Coleman leaves behind a wife, two children, ages 4 and 7, and older children who have left the nest, Arpaio said.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Sunday identified two New Hampshire visitors slain at an overlook near Sedona overlook as James Johnson and Carold Raynsford, both 63, authorities said.

As the office continues searching for a motive in the fatal shooting Friday of Johnson, from Jaffrey, N.H., and Raynsford, from Nelson, N.H. they released more details about a white, half-ton truck they said was seen at the time of the double murder.

The “suspect truck” was described as a 1998-2002 model year Dodge or Chevy with an older, faded camper shell and red ribbons attached to the rearview mirror.

“Use all cautions if the vehicle is located,” said Dwight D’Evelyn, a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. “Occupants (are) likely armed and dangerous.”

The bodies of the victims were found about 11:30 Friday in a red Subaru parked at the overlook near Page Springs Road on Arizona 89A. The engine was still running, D’Evelyn said.

Sheriff’s deputies said the pair was shot from outside the Subaru with a semiautormatic weapon. Deputies have recovered .223-caliber shell casings and other evidence.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous calls and tips, D’Evelyn said.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for any tip that results in an arrest.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office at 928-771-3260 or or Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.


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