PHOENIX (KTVK/Meredith) -- A Phoenix police officer was struck and killed by a car Thursday morning when he stopped to help other people involved in a crash.
According to Phoenix police, officer Paul Rutherford, 51, stopped and got out of his police vehicle to assist two people who were involved in a car crash.
That is when police say another vehicle slammed into Rutherford. At this time, details surrounding the crash at unknown. The driver who struck the officer stayed on the scene and is cooperating with investigators.
Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Rutherford was taken to a local hospital in extremely critical condition where he was pronounced dead.
Thompson said Rutherford served almost 23 years with the Phoenix Police Department. He leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
Chief Jerri Williams thanked the community for their support in a press conference in front of Banner - University Medical Center in Phoenix.
This is the 39th line of duty death in the history of Phoenix police.
Our sincerest condolences to the family and @phoenixpolice for the tragic loss of Officer Paul Rutherford. You are a hero and will not be forgotten. We are here for you, PPD 💙💙💙 pic.twitter.com/d4A1XC7EtZ— Dept. Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) March 21, 2019
@Arizona_DPS the entire DPS Family is sadden by the death of @phoenixpolice Phoenix Police Officer Paul Rutherford. Our thoughts and prayers our with the family, Chief Williams @PhxPDChief and her esteemed Department.— Col. Frank Milstead (@frank_milstead) March 21, 2019