Flagstaff Police Officer Tyler J. Stewart, 24, was shot and killed early Saturday afternoon, Dec. 27, while working a domestic violence case. The suspect, Robert William Smith, 28, then shot and killed himself.
Officer Stewart had contacted the suspect’s girlfriend at approximately 11 a.m. on Saturday. She reportedly told him that Smith had argued with her and left the area.
The officer was contacted by Smith and met him at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at an apartment complex where Smith had been staying. The two engaged in a conversation regarding the earlier events, but the conversation did not become confrontational. Officer Stewart had been asking Smith about what had happened, when he asked to pat the suspect down for any type of weapons. At a range of approximately two feet, Smith reached for a gun he had in his pocket and began firing at the officer.
Preliminary investigations indicated that Officer Stewart did not have time to return fire, as the onslaught of rounds from the suspect were immediate and rapidly erupting. After the officer was wounded and down, Smith continued to fire rapidly at him. Smith then walked away from the immediate area and died of a self-inflicted gunshot.
The shooting remains under investigation and the Northern Arizona Law Enforcement multi-agency shooting team is assisting.
The only prior contact the Flagstaff police had with Smith was in 2009 when he was arrested in connection with a domestic violence incident.
Officer Stewart was nearing completion of his first year with the Flagstaff Police Department. He graduated from Boulder Creek High School in Anthem and Concordia College in California.
“This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our officer. We are a very closeknit organization, and know that all members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our Officer Tyler Stewart,” Chief Kevin Treadway said.
Mayor Jerry Nabours commented, “It is heartbreaking to lose one of our officers. We collectively mourn for his family and the entire department.”
Funeral services for Officer Stewart will be held at 10 o’clock this morning (Jan. 2) at Christ’s Church, located at 3475 E. Soliere in Flagstaff. A procession of family members and public safety personnel will leave Norvel Owens Mortuary, located at 941 E. Route 66 in Flagstaff, at 9 a.m. today and travel to the church. A private reception for family, friends and public safety personnel will follow the service.
The Tyler Stewart Memorial, Account No. 7764473984, has been set up on behalf of the family of Officer Stewart at Wells Fargo.