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3 officers wounded in 2 separate Valley shootings

Posted: Updated:
Officer-involved shooting in Avondale on Saturday. (Source: CBS 5 News) Officer-involved shooting in Avondale on Saturday. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Lance Danielson (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.) Lance Danielson (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.)
R.T. McGinty of Avondale. (Source: AZ Dept. of Corrections) R.T. McGinty of Avondale. (Source: AZ Dept. of Corrections)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Three Valley police officers are recovering from wounds after gunshots rang out at two separate locations Saturday.

None of the officers were seriously hurt, but the suspects in both cases are dead.

The first shooting happened in Avondale at around 5 p.m. in the area of Third Street and Rose Lane. An officer responding to a report of a suspicious person was hit in the face but was still able to fire back, killing the suspect, identified as 27-year-old R.T. McGinty, of Avondale.

[Related: Officer shot in face, suspect killed]

Trisha Sandoval was one of many witnesses who rushed outside to see what happened.

"There was an officer on the floor with nobody out there to help him so I ran out there."

Sandoval, who's trained in medicine, talked with the officer until fire medics arrived.

"He knew what day it was," Sandoval said. "He said it was hard for him to breathe but he was conscious and he knew his name, where he was and what had happened."

It's not clear why the suspect opened fire.

Around the same time, Phoenix police were working a situation near 35th Avenue and Greenway.

Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos said officers responded to the area after getting a call of a man breaking into an apartment.

[Related: Officers injured, suspect dies]

Officers arrived to find an armed man forcing entry into what turned out to be his ex's unit, said Martos.

The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Lance Danielson, yelled at the officers to leave and indicated he did not want to go back to prison, said Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos.

The officers noticed the suspect began reaching into his backpack. Martos said Danielson pulled out a handgun. The three patrol officers immediately began giving the suspect verbal commands but Danielson ignored them, Martos said.

A three-hour-long standoff ensued and ended when shots were exchanged, according to authorities.

Danielson was killed and two officers were wounded, said Martos. They're expected to be OK. 

One of the SWAT team officers was struck with gunfire. A second SWAT team officer was struck with a round to his ballistic vest. Both injured officers were immediately taken to an area hospital.

The female officer who was struck remains hospitalized and will continue to receive medical treatment. She has been with the force for 15 years. The officer struck in his ballistic vest was treated and released. He's been with the department for 11 years.

So far in 2013, Valley law enforcement officers have fired their guns during 45 calls.

For comparison, in all of last year, there were only 48 officer-involved shootings.

Some authorities believe criminals have become more brazen, willing to take a shot at officers without considering the consequences.

Others suggest officers are more aware of the dangers and are more willing to use deadly force.

Earlier this week, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he does not believe Valley officers are trigger-happy.

"It's not a circumstance where officers are rolling up on scene, jumping out of moving car and then emptying clip," he said. "That's not what's happening."

"Have I seen anything in these cases that we've been reviewing that suggests that they are rushing to judgement to shoot first and then try to access situation later? No," he said.

Montgomery said his offices takes every police shooting case seriously to make sure the officer followed proper procedures.

Stay with CBS5AZ.com for updates on this continuing story.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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