PHOENIX – A 44-year-old transient has been jailed without bond after two Phoenix police officers were seriously injured when a car plowed into them at a gas station in an incident that officials denounced as an intentional targeting of police.
“When someone targets a police officer, it places the entire community at risk,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Wednesday.
A judge ordered Marc LaQuon Payne jailed on multiple counts, including suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage and resisting arrest.
Payne didn’t have an attorney who could comment on the allegations when he appeared in court late Tuesday night after being treated at a hospital.
One officer suffered injuries that included a broken leg. A second had bruises and a concussion. A third officer jumped out of the way but suffered minor injuries during a scuffle with Payne. The officer with the concussion remained hospitalized Wednesday.
Court documents released Wednesday described Payne as a transient without community ties. The documents also said that Payne was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
An attached police probable-cause statement didn’t say whether Payne told police anything after the incident, and police have not provided a possible motive.
The attack came during an especially violent year for police officers nationwide, including separate deadly attacks in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas over the summer.
Police Chief Joseph Yahner denounced the Tuesday morning incident as a “violent, intentional act” in which officers were targeted.
Phoenix police released a store surveillance video of the incident. It showed a vehicle backing out of a parking space, circling the parking lot and then accelerating toward the officers.
The video shows the rookie officer thrown several feet in the air and hitting the front windshield of the suspect’s vehicle, police said.
Deputy County Attorney April Sponsel said during the brief court hearing that Payne should be held without bond because he attacked the officers and posed a continuing threat to the public. The Arizona Constitution’s no-bond provision is intended to protect the public and police “from individuals such as this, individuals who coldly attack officers,” Sponsel said.
Payne did not speak in court other than to give his name in a tired-sounding voice when asked by the judge.
He slouched forward during the beginning of the hearing, resting his head on his left forearm. The judge asked him to “stand up, please” at one point, and he did.
Online court records indicate that Payne was placed on probation after pleading guilty in 1998 to aggravated assault in a 1992 incident.
A former public defender who represented Payne in that case said she didn’t recall him or the case.