Deputy Ruben Garcia
Deputy Ruben Garcia
Photo credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
A Maricopa County deputy shot early Tuesday remains in critical condition, but a relative said his progress is "favorable."
Deputy Ruben Garcia was shot after midnight as he tried to pull over a man during a welfare check who was later found dead following a pursuit, according to KNXV-TV.
The 29-year veteran of the department is still fighting for his life in the ICU at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital, but family members say a successful surgery performed Wednesday has given them hope.
"My brother is progressing in a favorable way and we're extremely pleased with the progress he's showing," Alifonzo Garcia told the news station.
Sheriff's spokesman Officer Chris Hegstrom told reporters that Garica's condition is "cautiously optimistic."
The incident began around when the sheriff's office received a called from a woman concerned about her ex-boyfriend's welfare and gave a description of his vehicle.
Garcia was near 83rd Avenue and Deer Valley Road in Peoria when he spotted the silver pickup truck and attempted to pull it over to talk to the man.
The stop occurred in the parking lot of a shopping center where witnesses reporting hearing gunfire before the pickup truck sped away.
Peoria police officers responded to the scene and the Garcia was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
The officers went in pursuit of the suspect and caught up with the pickup truck in a desert area when he began to fire shots at them.
They returned fire, striking the truck, which suddenly came to a stop.
The suspect didn't respond to commands and a SWAT unit that responded to the scene found the suspect, identified as 54-year-old Donald Miller Sr., dead inside the vehicle.
Officials said it wasn't clear if the suspect was killed by shots fired by the officers or by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officer.com will provide more information on this story as it becomes available.