LHS grad slain in the line of duty
Two Pima County Sheriff’s deputies also were shot as law enforcement officers tried to apprehend the suspect, David Delich, 25, the man who allegedly fired the shot that claimed Hite’s life.
Deputies Eric Cervantez and Tory Schwartz both were treated for their injuries and released from TUMC.
According to media reports, the shooting spree began when Delich opened fire on two northwest Tucson homes.
After Delich allegedly shot one of the deputies, the TPD joined the pursuit about 10:22 a.m. on June 1.
According to press releases from the TPD, a field supervisor spotted Delich’s fleeing vehicle in the area of Udall Park.
During the initial stages of the pursuit, the suspect fired at the officers several times, striking the pursuing police cars.
Delich was driving a red 1988 Ford Mustang convertible with the convertible top down. He was seen holding and displaying an assault type rifle.
As he drove over the Tanque Verde Bridge, he fired several rounds at the pursuing officers. One of the rounds struck the windshield of a squad car being driven by a TPD patrol supervisor.
When the pursuit reached the intersection of Tanque Verde and Tomahawk Trail, Delich fired at Hite’s squad car, hitting it seven times.
One of those rounds struck Hite in the head, mortally wounding him. Investigators believe that there were at least 35 rounds fired between the bridge and Tomahawk Trail.
The second deputy was shot after Hite was wounded.
Delich was taken into custody on the Catalina Highway at Molino Basin where he gave himself up to pursuing sheriff’s deputies.
He was turned over to the custody of the Tucson Police Department and booked into the Pima County Jail. Delich faces a first-degree murder charge and and three counts of aggravated assault. Bail has been set at $3.5 million.
The Pima County Sheriffs Department has filed additional charges against him.
On June 1, Tucson Police Chief Richard Maranda said, “You have an individual who gave up his life for his community, and we have to honor that, but we’re going to miss him and I’m just feeling very, very, very bad right now.”
A TPD spokesperson said Maranda characterized Hite’s shooting as an “ambush” because Delich allegedly set himself up around a bend in the road and waited for Hite to come around the corner, indicating premeditation.
The TPD spokesperson said Hite made a lot of friends during his four years on the TPD and his work performance was exemplary.
Mark Robinson, a sergeant with the TPD, said Hite was “a good, aggressive, clean cop. He worked hard and had a lot of activity. He certainly made an impact.”
Services will be held at 10 a.m. today, Tuesday, June 10, in Tucson. Following the services, a procession will travel from the church to East Lawn Cemetery.
Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup has ordered all flags in Tucson be lowered to half-staff until after Hite’s funeral.
The Tucson Police Officers Association has set up an account for Hite’s family at Wells Fargo Bank. To contribute, contact any Wells Fargo Bank branch and ask about the Erik Hite Fund.
Hite is survived by his wife Nohemy, their 1-year-old daughter Samantha, his adult son Roy, his parents Roy and Mary Jane, his birth mother Patsy Hansen, his sisters, Nevada Benton and Royleen Mahie and his brother Sean.
Hite had lived in the Tucson area since 1983 when he was assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
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