Arrest report describes harrowing encounter - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Arrest report describes harrowing encounter

May 11th, 2021 development
Arrest report describes harrowing encounter

By Cecilia Chan
Staff Writer

A Tolleson man accused of ramming a stolen car into a group of officers, killing Chandler Officer Christoper Farrar and severely injuring a Gillbert officer, remains in jail on a $3-million cash bail.

Jonathon J. Altland, Jr., 25, faces a first-degree murder charge of Chandler Officer Christopher Farrar, 50. A preliminary hearing was set for May 10.

Gilbert Officer Rico Aranda suffered head injuries during the April 29 violent confrontation but was showing signs of improvement, according to Gilbert Police.

“We are encouraged by Gilbert Police Officer Rico Aranda’s recovery progress,” Gilbert Police said May 3. “We are happy to report that he is responding well to treatment and we expect him to be transferred within a couple days out of ICU and into neurological treatment and recovery.”

Altland worked for FPS Civil LLC, according to police documents. Very little detail about Altland was included in the report.

His record appears limited to several traffic violations, including a stop-sign civil infraction in January. and in October 2020, he was cited for reckless driving and driving over 85 mph, according to Maricopa County Justice Courts. The latter, a criminal case, was adjudicated.

Altland purchased his house in Tolleson with a girlfriend in 2019, according to county property records.

The April 29 incident began after Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop Altland for speeding in a yellow pickup truck. It was later determined the pickup was stolen.

As Altland began to yield, he started shooting at the deputy’s vehicle, according to police.

Altland then fled north on State Route 87, reaching speeds of over 100 mph before crashing through a gate at Chandler Municipal Airport, where he drove onto the runway, police said.

He left the airport and drove the wrong way on surface streets and then on the Loop 202 Santan Freeway as Chandler and Gilbert police, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers and PCSO gave chase

Gilbert Police were alerted to the pursuit at 10:35 p.m.

Altland then crashed his vehicle on the northern embankment of the 202 west of Val Vista Drive and fled on foot.

He entered the maintenance area of the San Tan Ford dealership at the Motorplex Loop and was confronted by a janitorial staff. Two custodians observed Altland with a handgun.

Police said Altland threatened the dealership manager, “stating he had a gun and would shoot him,” police said.

The manager followed Altland out to a vehicle bay area and was told to turn off the lights.

The manager responded he could not do so and fled from the service bay.

Meanwhile law enforcement had surrounded the building.

Altland stole a vehicle and crashed through a closed bay door.

“The suspect sped out of the service bay area, veering and accelerating directly towards one group of officers who feared for their lives and discharged their firearms,” the police documents read. “The suspect did not stop and continued fleeing through the parking lot and drove directly toward” Farrar, fatally striking him.

Altland continued what police called “an intentional attack,” driving toward other officers in the parking lot, who fired their weapons at him.

Altland next struck another officer and then slammed his car into a parked vehicle, directly injuring Aranda who was near it, police said.

Police reported six people in total were injured by the suspect, including the dealership manager.

According to Gilbert Police, Pinal County deputies were expected to submit charges related to its involvement with the initial traffic stop and attempted murder of an officer and Chandler Police will be submitting charges related to the suspect entering the airport.