TOPD officer run over by stolen patrol car after confrontation near Why
A Tohono O'odham Police Department officer died from his injuries Thursday morning after a man armed with a broken bottle stole his patrol car and ran the officer down, leading to a chase involving two Border Patrol agents.
Officer Bryan Brown responded to a call for a "public disturbance by an armed and erratic driver" at the Desert Diamond Why Casino, which sits at the western edge of the Tohono O'odham Nation, near the unincorporated village of Why on Highway 86, about 100 miles west of Tucson.
Carlos Maximilliano Galvan, 39, faces a murder charge for Brown's death, as well as three charges for assaulting federal agents, according to court documents filed Friday.
On Thursday, officials had said that Brown had been shot, but Brown died from injuries when he was run over by Galvan.
In a federal complaint, after Brown arrived at the Desert Diamond Casino, he encountered Galvan, who was standing outside of the casino next to Brown's patrol car, a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria. At some point, Galvan approached Brown with a broken bottle, and Brown backed away and Galvan took the officer's fully-marked TOPD vehicle and attempted to drove onto Highway 86.
However, according to court records, Galvan turned around and drove on the shoulder toward a Border Patrol vehicle, slamming into the vehicle and spinning it nearly 180 degrees around. A Border Patrol agent, identified only as A.A. was standing on the passenger side, and he was nearly crushed by his own vehicle. Galvan drove toward Brown, and Brown fired his service weapon. However, Galvan ran the officer down, before fleeting westbound.
Galvan then rammed a second Border Patrol vehicle, occupied by a second agent, identified only as P.G., and continued to flee, ramming and striking P.G.'s vehicle, as well as well as another Border Patrol vehicle driven by an agent called A.M. in court records.
"Galvan continued to ram and strike both Agent P.G. and Agent A.M.'s vehicles," the federal complaint read. At some point, Galvan stopped and he was arrested by agents, and was transported to a hospital because of an injury to his neck.
Brown was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix and pronounced dead at 10:57 a.m.
Galvan, a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, told investigators that he had been awake for days and was high on methamphetamine.
"Galvan stated that he remembered backing up into an officer. Galvan then said that he was spooked from hitting the officer and then took off. Galvan stated that he knew it was an officer that he backed into, and that it was a white truck," according to the federal complaint.
The FBI will continue investigating the incident, along with the Tohono O’odham Police Department, said an FBI spokeswoman.
Brown is the sixth law enforcement officer to die this year in Arizona, including two officers who died from COVID-19, and two from gunfire. Earlier this year, David Kellywood, an officer from the White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Department was shot and killed at the Hon-Dah Casino in Pinetop, Arizona.
Brown spent 19 years with the TOPD, including the last 10 years as a School Resource Officer for the Nation’s Baboquivari Unified School District. He was born in Washington state, and served eight years in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany, the Nation said.
"On behalf of the Tohono O’odham Nation, we offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Bryan Brown," said Ned Norris, Jr., the Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman. "Today, we not only commemorate his tragic passing, but honor and remember him as he lived. We are grateful for his selfless dedication to serving and protecting our communities. His commitment made us all safer."
In this time of great sorrow, please keep Officer Brown’s loved ones in your hearts and your prayers. Please also think of his fellow officers who continue to put their lives on the line for us every day. We are grieving this loss together as a Nation, and we are thankful for the outpouring of support and condolences from across the state," said Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairwoman Wavalene Saunders.
Flags across Arizona were ordered lowered from sunrise to sunset on Friday in honor of Brown by Gov. Doug Ducey.
"Arizona is saddened by the loss of Tohono O'odham Police Officer Bryan Brown," Ducey said in a news release. "He was committed to serving others and put his life on the line answering the call of duty. For that, Arizona will be forever grateful. My sincerest condolences go out to Officer Brown’s loved ones as well as the Tohono O'odham Police Department."
Brown is survived by his wife, seven children, four step-children, eight grandchildren, seven siblings, and his father.
The Tohono O'odham Nation said that donations are being handled by Lt. Wenona May with TOPD.