Originally Published: February 4, 2008 8:42 p.m.
"It felt like I got stung by a bee," said Prescott Police Sgt. Kevin Perlak of the moment Daniel Brumley, 30, of Glendale allegedly shot him in the chest.
The Jan. 22 incident took place in a field on Lee Boulevard and Highway 69 next to the Gateway Mall.
"I saw his gun muzzle and flashes so I knew I was being shot at, but it wasn't until we handcuffed Brumley that I had a chance to check," Perlak said.
Perlak, a 13-year-veteran, and Officer Tyler Ellsworth, a 6-year-veteran are both doing "great." They say Jan. 22 was "just another day at work."
Ellsworth, who is with the Special Enforcement section, started the morning with his K-9 helping Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking.
"I was doing a traffic stop for them because we suspected some people were carrying illegal drugs," he said. Ellsworth waited until he had probable cause to stop the vehicle. "The driver made two traffic violations coming out of the mall area."
"Sgt. Perlak was with me although we were in two different vehicles," Ellsworth said. "The K-9 unit is new to his command and he came out to see what we did. He made the traffic stop with me."
Perlak asked the four people in the vehicle to get out and was trying to learn who they were and what they were doing.
"Their stories didn't add up," he said.
In the meantime, Ellsworth asked Brumley, who was one of the passengers, if he could pat him down.
"Brumley stiffened up on me and when I started to pat him down. He struck me in the face and took off running," Ellsworth said. "I hit the car, then turned around and started running after him."
"I saw Ellsworth get struck from 20 yards to the west," Perlak said. "That is considered aggravated assault. I started to chase him in the field. When I was not gaining any ground, I decided to (Taser) him. I did not want a felony suspect to run into the mall or into the neighborhoods near the mall."
Then, in the words of Ellsworth and Perlak, Brumley "changed the game so we changed the game."
"Brumley got the first shot off," Perlak said. "I got rid of the Taser and went to my duty weapon, which is a .40-caliber Glock 22. I was running a gun battle at that point. Ellsworth and I both returned fire from different parts of the field. Brumley spun around and started shooting (with a .357 Magnum) and I got hit in the upper right chest. The bullet hit my (bullet-resistant) vest, but my adrenaline was up and I only registered that he was shooting at me, not that I was hit."
Ellsworth and Perlak said their SWAT team training kept them calm and focused.
"It was more of a natural experience," Ellsworth said. "It didn't feel weird. The training is ingrained in our head."
"It was a natural reaction and we took the fight to him," Perlak added. "We couldn't take cover - there was no cover - and we both continued the fight. There was never a lag in our response to him and at the same time, we had to be aware of public safety. We were accountable for our rounds, but he wasn't."
Part of "public safety" is knowing the "backstop" or what is behind an officer when he or she is firing their gun.
"We don't want anyone else to get hurt," Perlak said. "We were fortunate to have a berm for the backstop so there was no chance of civilians or other officers getting injured."
During this "run-and-gun" battle, the officers did not have a second to take a breath between shots. Perlak stayed on his feet even after he realized a bullet hit him.
"If you get wounded or injured, you can't just give up," he said. "That's when people die."
"Never at one point in time did we think we were going to lose," Ellsworth said. "In order to be a police officer, you have to have survival mentality. We have families at home."
One of the officers shot Brumley in the arm.
"We both shot, but the bullet went right through Brumley's arm without striking any bone," Ellsworth said. "We will probably never find the bullet and even if we did, Perlak and I use the same type of bullets."
Brumley is in Yavapai County Jail on charges of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, multiple drug violations and one count of aggravated assault.
Police also arrested the driver of the vehicle, Danielle Tate, 26, on charges of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, multiple drug violations and DUI drugs; and two passengers, Irene Gonzales, 30, and Jesse Carmichael, 27, each on charges of two counts of attempted first-degree murder and multiple drug charges.
Brumley remains in Yavapai County jail on a $1 million cash bond. Tate, Gonzales and Carmichael are in jail on $500,000 cash bonds each.