Officer Farrar first to die on duty this year - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Officer Farrar first to die on duty this year

May 11th, 2021 development
Officer Farrar first to die on duty this year

By Cecilia Chan
Staff Writer

The Chandler police officer slain by a car thief in Gilbert April 29 is the first East Valley policeman killed in the line of duty this year and apparently the first in Arizona.

Officer Christopher Farrar, an 18-year veteran of the department, died after he was struck by the driver of a stolen vehicle, according to law enforcement.

Officer Farrar’s death marked seven years since a member of the Chandler  Police force was killed on the job, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit organization.

With his death, Chandler Police now have lost five officers who died while performing their job.

In 2016, Officer David Smith Payne was killed after a drunken driver rear-ended his police motorcycle, which was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Chandler Boulevard and Pennington Drive.

And, Officer Carlos Luciano Ledesma was killed in 2010 while conducting an undercover narcotics operation at a home in Phoenix, according to the officer memorial site.

Before him, there was Officer Robert Nielsen, who was killed in an automobile accident while responding to another accident call in 2002. His death was one of more than a hundred officers’ deaths that occurred because of design defaults in Ford Crown Victorias, a then-popular patrol car.

Chandler Officer James Snedigar was fatally shot in 1999 while performing a SWAT raid on armed robbery suspects near Priest Drive and Ray Road.

Chandler Police also recorded a death of one of their own in January not directly linked to his line of work. Officer Tyler Britt, a 19-year member of the force, died from complications of COVID-19.

Gilbert has lost officers prior to this year.

At the time of Gilbert Sun News’ deadline, an unidentified Gilbert officer was struck by the same vehicle that killed Officer Farrar. That Gilbert officer was reported to be in critical condition.

The last Gilbert officer to die on duty was Lt. Eric Shuhandler, who was fatally shot in 2010 when he stopped a vehicle occupied by two men near the intersection of Val Vista and Baseline roads in Gilbert.

A wild chase ensued before police captured the killers after a gunfight on US60 near Superior. Both killers are serving life sentences.

In 2006, Gilbert Officer Rob Targosz died after his motorcycle was struck by a drunken driver at the intersection of Price Road and Apache Boulevard in Tempe during a DUI checkpoint exercise.

In Mesa, two officers have died in the line of duty, the last in 1994 and Tempe Police has seen five officers die with the last death in 2006.

To date, according to the memorial page, Arizona has lost 264 law enforcement officers in the line of duty since the 1880s.

In the state, Phoenix Police Department led with the most fallen officers at 41, followed by Arizona Department of Public Safety with 30.

For 2021 so far, 118 law enforcement officers have died nationwide, according to the memorial page.

And since 1776, there have been 24,870 known line of duty deaths in America, the memorial page stated.

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