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Update: Highway 89 reopens after police shoot, kill armed suspect in Paulden

Police block Highway 89 in Paulden, Arizona following a shooting and robbery. (YCSO/Courtesy)

Police block Highway 89 in Paulden, Arizona following a shooting and robbery. (YCSO/Courtesy)

PAULDEN, Ariz. - Chino Valley Police shot and killed an armed man who threatened police after robbing the Dollar store in Paulden late Tuesday morning, Jan. 4, causing the closure of lengthy swaths of North Highway 89, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) reported.

Officers from the Chino Valley Police Department (CVPD) and YCSO deputies responded to the robbery at 5 Big Chino Road after a nearby domestic dispute involving the suspect, YCSO Public Affairs and Government Relations Director Kristin Greene said.

Greene said at about 4 p.m. the highway is now open; expect delays.

YCSO responded to the domestic dispute at about 10:15 a.m., which had resulted in the suspect critically injuring one man and severely injuring another person, a news release stated early Tuesday afternoon.

“Current reports are that the unidentified suspect assaulted his brother with a hammer and fled the home on Bourbon Alley to the nearby Dollar (store), where he robbed the store and assaulted the manager,” the release added.

The suspect subsequently drove to the Paulden Community Center, 24050 N. Marblehead Ave., where he threatened occupants with a gun, the release stated.

After the suspect left the community center, YCSO deputies and Chino Valley Police say they found him near a train trestle off of North Highway 89, not far from the Dollar store.

“Despite repeated warnings from law enforcement, the suspect raised his gun to the officers, and Chino Valley P.D. was forced to fire on the man,” authorities added.

The suspect’s brother was airlifted to Flagstaff Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, but YCSO reported that it does not know the brother’s current condition. The Dollar store's manager was taken to Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott for his injuries, which the Sheriff’s Office added were not believed to be as severe.

Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers, YCSO detectives and crime scene investigators remained on the scene into the afternoon.

TRAFFIC IMPACTS ON HIGHWAY 89

CVPD reported a heavy police presence along North Highway 89 and Big Chino Road, and the department told drivers to avoid the area late Tuesday morning.

North Highway 89 was closed from Interstate 40 to Big Chino Road into the afternoon. The highway’s northbound lanes were closed at the Paulden Post Office. (Update at 4 p.m.: the highway is now open, but expect delays.)

“YCSO anticipates opening the freeway within the next few hours [at around 5 p.m.] but asks that residents find alternative routes until such time,” a YCSO news release reported in the early afternoon.

Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) officials stated in a news release early Tuesday afternoon that the incident closed Highway 89 in both directions between mileposts 337 and 338 in Paulden.

“Motorists are advised to consider delaying travel or using alternate routes,” the release added.

If you are heading north on Highway 89, no detour is available, other than turning around and using eastbound Highway 69 toward Interstate 17, ADOT officials stated, or traveling farther south to U.S. 93. If you are traveling south on North Highway 89, turning around is your main option.

To access real-time highway conditions, visit ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov or call 511. You may download the AZ 511 app through ADOT’s Twitter feed using the handle @ArizonaDOT.

“When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app is available at ADOTAlerts.com,” the release added. “[It] will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas, where possible, in advance of alternate routes.”

Editor's Note: This article was updated at about 4 p.m. to state YCSO has reopened the highway; expect delays.

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