Suspect in Central Heights shootout, standoff identified

Tina Nixon/Arizona Silver Belt A Mesa Police Department unit responds to the May 12 shootout and standoff in Central Heights.

A murder suspect who initiated an hours-long standoff with law enforcement on May 12 in Central Heights by shooting at approaching officers has been identified by the U.S. Marshals Service. In a press statement, the Marshals Service identified him as 46-year-old Joseph Pratt, wanted in connection with a March 3 homicide in Mesa as well as weapons violations.

That Friday afternoon, Pratt opened fire as he was approached near Russell Road by members of the Marshals Service-led Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force near Russell Road. He then barricaded himself in a residence and continued shooting. In the ensuing standoff, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office warned community members to avoid the area.

According to the Marshals Service statement, after hours of negotiation Pratt was taken into custody through the use of less-than-lethal munitions, and transported to a local hospital for assessment and treatment. No officers or community members were injured.

The statement said Task Force members worked closely with SWAT teams from the Mesa Police Department, Apache Junction and the Department of Public Safety, along with the Globe Police Department and Gila County Sheriff’s Office, to negotiate Pratt’s peaceful surrender. The investigation is ongoing.

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