Early Tuesday morning a man identified as 44-year-old Marc LaQuon Payne intentionally drove his Nissan Altima into a group of three Phoenix police officers who were standing in front of a QuikTrip mini-mart. After breaking one officer’s leg and sending another one flying through the air, the suspect got out of his car and fought with police. The fight ended when Payne was tased and handcuffed.
“These officers could have easily been killed and I thank god that we’re not planning three funerals right now,” Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner told the media Tuesday. Chief Yahner walked through the series of events using surveillance video from the mini-mart:
The Arizona Republic has details on the officers who were injured:
A 33-year-old police officer who was on his first day of duty suffered a head injury, and a police sergeant, 41, suffered a broken leg. A third officer, 36, managed to jump out of the way but was injured during an extended struggle with the driver, Yahner said.
The video shows the rookie officer thrown several feet in the air and hitting the glass window of the QuikTrip. The officer, whom Yahner would identify only by his first name, Jeremy, then helped take Payne into custody, Yahner said…
“We are confident that this is an intentional act,” Yahner said. “This stuff needs to stop.”
The story does mention that “impairment” may have also been a factor. However, ABC15 in Arizona reports that Marc Payne has a previous record for fighting with police after a traffic stop in 1997. As you’ll see in this clip, the local reporter is also hearing that Payne was an “activist” who participated in previous protests, including one that shut down a highway. However, the local leader of Black Lives Matter denies Payne has any involvement with the group.
Since Marc Payne survived we will learn more about his motive. But from what we know so far, this could very easily have been a sequel to the murderous attacks on police we saw in Dallas and in Baton Rouge.
The Associated Press reports that Marc Payne now faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder. He will also be charged with two counts of aggravated assault because, after his car went through the glass store front, he nearly hit two employees inside.