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November 21st, 1986
Tempe Police Department

On November 21st, 1986, an armed suspect who had shot a Scottsdale Police Officer and injured several other citizens in Scottsdale, fled into Tempe.

Officer David Lewis pursued the suspect even though his patrol car had been struck by gunfire. During the pursuit, the suspect kidnapped six year old Robbie Hughes as he was walking home from Meyer School, and held him hostage inside the home at 1254 E. Malibu .

At one point in the confrontation, circumstances made it necessary for Sgt. Tranter to enter the home to attempt the rescue of the little boy. Upon entering the house, Sgt. Tranter was shot in the face with a Glaser round, which is a fragmenting type of bullet. He was unable to immediately return fire because he was unaware of the location of the hostage. Once it was determined that Robbie was in another part of the house and away from the suspect, Sgt. Tranter returned his fire and located Robbie. He was unable to call for help and notify other officers of the location of the boy due to his radio, which was mounted on his shoulder, was struck with a .44 Caliber round fired by the suspect. In spite of being wounded at the outset and continuously being fired upon, Sgt. Tranter was able to drag the hostage to safety.

Immediately after Robbie's rescue, Officer Carlos Araiza sent his police dog, Murph, into the home to confront the suspect while other members of the tactical team forced entry through the front door.  Murph was shot by the suspect and later died of his wounds.

Officers Les Gray, Gary Lindberg and Tom Stubbs, entered the dark home through the front door. A few moments later, Officer Gray encountered the suspect in a hallway. The suspect fired one round from a handgun which struck Officer Gray in the right hand and right bicep. Officer gray returned fire, striking the suspect in the chest. The suspect died from his wounds.

All officers who participated in this operation demonstrated courage and dedication far beyond the call of duty. Robbie Hughes was not hurt and was returned safely home, but the success of this operation was not without cost. Sgt. Tranter lost his right eye in the confrontation. Officer Gray recovered from his wounds and returned to work, however the members of the Tempe Police Department experienced a deep sense of loss with the death of police service dog, Murph .

Murph was obtained from the Phoenix Police Department in February of 1981. Officer Carlos Araiza was assigned as his handler in June of 1982. During their time together, the two participated in 336 building searches, 348 area searches, 24 narcotic searches and arrested 45 felony suspects. They also participated in countless hours of training which prepared them for incidents like the one which occurred on November 21st. Officer Araiza and Murph had received 8 departmental commendations during their assignment together, and while Murph gave his life during this operation, in doing so, he provided officers the opportunity to gain entry and resolve an extremely hazardous situation. Murph will be remembered by the citizens of Tempe and by his friends in the Police profession with fondness and appreciation.

Click to read news article about Murph

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