Neighbors hunkered down as the Phoenix police barricade unfurled


Classie Taylor was asleep around 6 a.m. Friday when the phone rang.

She and her four children — two boys, two girls — had gone to bed the night before in their stucco home on a tidy street in southwest Phoenix.

Taylor’s sister was awake and watched the news unfold on TV. Phoenix police massed in front of a house. An armed man barricaded himself inside.

Taylor looked out her window. The whole stage was half a block away.

She forced herself to remain calm and rushed over to check on the children, aged 10, 12, 13 and 15.

“Everyone in my room,” she said.

Austin Michael was not sleeping. He was working on a car he had bought from a neighbor’s family and, at around 2 a.m. on Friday, was in the hull of his truck parked outside.

He saw the lights of a police car go by. Shortly after, he heard bursts of gunfire.

“I got in my van and stayed low,” he said.

Their housing estate, near 51st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road, is a cluster of tidy two-story houses, the street dotted with shade dotted with trees in front. Up the street are warehouses for Amazon and Marshall’s buzz, but the blocks around Elwood Street are normally quiet. Michael said the biggest criminal incidents have been past thefts of catalytic converters.

In the darkness of Friday morning, neighbors instead got up to find the lights of a police shootout.

Classie Taylor grabbed her guns and they sat in her bedroom in the dark. The minutes passed and turned into an hour. Her daughter downloaded a news app and checked for updates.

Austin Michael remained cowered in his truck as more police and then news trucks began to arrive.

At one point, he said, TV crews took cover outside as gunfire flew overhead.

“It was so close, that’s when it all got extremely serious and it wasn’t a joke anymore,” he said. Soon, he said, he saw an officer being loaded into an ambulance.

Police would later announce that nine officers were injured, including one seriously injured when he responded to a 911 call and was later ambushed.

Ultimately, a man inside the house was found dead and a woman in the house later died, police said Friday.

Around 7:30 a.m., they learned that the barricade situation was over; he was sure to venture outside.

Taylor opened the door just before 8 a.m. and looked down the block where they’ve lived for about three years.

As the family left the house for the morning, they walked past the scene of the police. She could see bullet holes “all over the house”.

Two of Taylor’s children went to school on Friday morning, including one of her sons who had planned a school trip. The other two were so shaken up that she kept them at home.

Residents who left for the morning were not allowed to return home. Instead, the police told them to park their vehicles behind the police cordon several blocks away and walk home.

Taylor spent Friday morning preparing for a son’s birthday party on Saturday. But what happened earlier was never far from his mind. Taylor said she was happy to hear that all of the officers were doing well.

“It’s a quiet neighborhood,” she said. “You might see an officer two or three times a month. This time it was very, very surreal. It looked super dangerous.

Michael said he had never been the victim of shootings or violence in the neighborhood.

“That’s the reality of the times we live in,” he said. “That’s how things are now. It’s scary. It’s not a joke, I’m not saying this out of proportion – it’s legitimately scary.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8072. Follow her on Twitter @anneryman.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: As Phoenix police shooting unfolds, neighbors take cover


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