Arrest ends in shootout, suicide - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Arrest ends in shootout, suicide

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Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2005 6:38 am | Updated: 8:22 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It was only two months ago when deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Morris and probation officer Bill Harkins were exchanging gunfire with a probationer in a quiet Gilbert neighborhood.

Both officers went home unscathed that night.

But not this time.

On Wednesday, Morris, 45, of Mesa, was shot in the abdomen, and Harkins was shot in the neck and shoulder when they showed up at a Phoenix probation counseling center for a surprise visit with a man who had violated his probation, police said.

Morris was in good condition late Wednesday at John C. Lincoln Hospital-North Mountain in Phoenix. Harkins was in serious condition.

The double shooting spawned a short-lived Amber Alert after the gunman hijacked a car at gunpoint with a toddler in the back seat.

The 2-year-old girl was safely recovered after an offduty police officer spotted the car near Seventh Street and Coronado Road, said Phoenix detective Tony Morales.

The suspect, Joseph Spano, 25, who served time for armed robbery, then fatally shot himself in the head when cornered by officers.

"This tragedy speaks volumes about the danger of probation work," said Maricopa County Chief Probation Officer Barbara Broderick.

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