The press briefing room was filled with local media as Phoenix Officer Peter “Chris” Bennett strode into the room flanked by his department’s media spokesperson and hospital staff. The fact that the officer who was shot six times and sustained three serious gunshot wounds just two days earlier actually walked into the room, felt miraculous to all in the room.
Dr. Scott Petersen, the trauma center’s medical director, was joined by Bennett’s trauma surgeon, Dr. Raymond Shamos as Bennett expertly articulated what flashed through his mind during Sunday evening’s deadly force encounter with a suspect in his patrol beat.
When asked about his first thoughts after being shot, Bennett said, “The adrenaline kicked in and probably protected me from the pain. I thought of my family first and whether I’d be around for them or not…then my fellow [responding] officers; I was thinking if this guy had no problem shooting me, he could do it again. I was thinking of their safety.” Bennett added, “The Phoenix Police Department does an amazing job training its officers, that training helped me to survive this.”
Discussing the seriousness of the officer’s injuries, Dr. Raymond Shamos said,
“Someone was watching over him—a higher power. That’s why he’s still with us.”
Phoenix Officer Peter Bennett #9360 was on patrol Saturday evening, January 6, 2013. Bennett, who is approaching five years with the department, routinely patrols an area near 19th Avenue and Missouri, currently a “high enforcement” area for residential burglaries and property crimes. At approximately 8:30 p.m. he saw a man on a bike dressed in dark clothing acting suspiciously; he was wearing a backpack.
During the stop just south of 21st Avenue and Georgia, against the officer’s directions, the suspect got off his bike and began to remove his backpack. The suspect, Brandon McCabe, 29, then fled on foot forcing Officer Bennett to initiate a short foot pursuit. McCabe fell to the ground and, as Bennett approached him, McCabe reached into his clothing and pulled out a handgun, firing multiple shots at the officer. Bennett, wounded, returned fire and wounded the suspect who then ran north to Vermont Avenue, jumped a fence and entered a residential backyard.
At approximately 9:30 p.m., Phoenix Special Assignments Unit officers and K9 officers found McCabe hiding in the rear yard of the residence. When the suspect refused to obey commands, a police K9 was used to assist with taking McCabe into custody. McCabe remained combative and uncooperative even as he was transported to a local hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds to both hands as well as injuries sustained from the K9.
Officer Pete Bennett, 36, a father of two young children, was hit six times during the encounter with additional rounds striking his ballistic vest. He was transported to the hospital to be treated for wounds to the right side of his face, his right hip, and his arm.
On Monday afternoon, as Officer Bennett was undergoing surgery, police held a press briefing attended by Phoenix Chief of Police Daniel V. Garcia, along with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, both who were at the officer’s hospital bedside immediately after he was transported. Chief Garcia choked up when describing how he listened as the wounded officer called his father from the hospital to reassure him that “…I am going to be fine.” Addressing the media, Chief Garcia added, “It shakes you to your core to get that call from staff to tell you your officer has been shot. I would ask citizens to pray for Officer Bennett and for his family.”
Mayor Stanton added, “Everyone in the city is praying for the health of this officer; the city fully supports your father and your son. This incident is a reminder of how our officers put their lives on the line every day.”
The suspect, who has a Department of Corrections record for trafficking in stolen property, burglaries and drugs, is currently hospitalized but will face charges of attempted first-degree murder and weapons violations when released.