Thursday a Gilbert, Arizona police officer was murdered during a routine traffic stop, a crime that precipitated a violent 50 mile chase up a winding two lane mountain road that ended in a gunfight that can best be described as something out of a Hollywood movie.
Police Lieutenant Eric Shuhandler was a father of two, and a sixteen year veteran with the Gilbert Police Department. Prior to that, Lieutenant Shuhandler worked three years as a detention officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. His loss is a blow not only to his family and his police department, but to the entire community.
The incident began when Lieutenant Shuhandler stopped a truck occupied by two men for an obscured license plate. One of those men, Christopher Redondo, was wanted on a warrant. Police say Redondo shot Lieutenant Shuhandler once in the head as he approached the passenger side of the truck. Two civilians witnessed the murder and ran to the fallen officers’ aid, using his radio to call for help.
The killers led police on a wild chase east on U.S. Highway 60 involving dozens of police cars. They fired shots at the pursuing officers, threw tools, and even an air compressor out of their truck, disabling several police cars along the way. Then, near the small community of Superior, Arizona they stopped their truck on the middle of the highway, jumped out, and fired at police officers. In the shootout that followed, both Redondo and Daimen Irizarry, who was driving the truck, were both hit in the legs. Police described their wounds as non-life threatening. Fortunately, no other police officers or civilians were injured in the chase and shooting.
Both Redondo and Irizarry have prior records for violence. Redondo had served prison time for child abuse, domestic violence, stalking, and aggravated assault. Police said he had assaulted police officers in the past. Irizarry also has a history of domestic violence, according to police.
So a good man is gone, and now the justice system will slowly grind forward. Hopefully Lieutenant Shuhandler’s murderers will eventually be convicted of their heinous crime, and they will get the death penalty they so richly deserve. Then maybe, years from now, they will be executed. But not before millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on their defense, on trials and appeals, and in feeding and caring for these animals. Why? What purpose does allowing them to live one more day serve?
It would have been better for everybody if the brave cops who engaged them in the gun battle on that lonely stretch of highway had aimed higher and killed these worthless maggots then and there. But they didn’t, because that’s what separates them from the vermin they protect all of us from.
Rest in peace, Lieutenant Shuhandler.
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