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Feb 23, 2010 11:41 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

1 dead after car runs gate at Ariz. air base

One man was killed and another injured after they drove a stolen car through the entrance to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and security forces opened fire, police said.

The car went through the entrance without stopping as required and security forces then used a vehicle to set up a roadblock on a bridge leading to the operational side of the base, near Glendale, Capt. Jerry Gonzalez, a spokesman for the base, told msnbc.com.

Police said the car drove directly at a security officer who feared for his life and opened fire.

"They [the people in the car] decided they would run through the road block and our security forces opened fire. The car crashed after that," Gonzalez said.

Arizona news Web site Azfamily.com said the injured occupant was airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital, reportedly in serious condition.

Luke Air Force Base trains pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets.

Officer Karen Gerardo of the Glendale Police Department told msnbc.com that at about 11 p.m. Monday an officer received a report of a stolen car.

That car was stopped and the occupants were taken into custody, she said. Gerardo said that that car had been travelling with another stolen car, which appears to be the one driven onto the air base.

She said the car was not being pursued by police at the time and she did not know why it would have gone onto the base.

"It could be as simple as they saw the [sheriff's] deputy go after the vehicle they were travelling with and they fled the area wanting to get away," Gerardo said.

"It's my understanding that the vehicle drove directly at a security forces officer who feared for their life," she added.

 

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