On Sunday, January 26, 2020 around 10:00AM, Chandler Police Officer Jonathan Castlegrante was dispatched to a neighborhood near Dobson Road and Warner Road to assist detectives from the Phoenix Police Department who were conducting a theft investigation involving a white Toyota Prius.
Officer Castlegrante observed a suspected white Toyota Prius in the neighborhood and attempted to pull it over. The driver of the white Prius refused to stop and the vehicle fled to an unknown location.
On Monday, January 27, 2020 around 7:00AM, Officer Castlegrante discovered the same white Toyota Prius backed into a parking stall on the east side of the Hampton Inn Hotel located at 7333 West Detroit St. He further observed a male exit the vehicle and walk into the hotel. Officer Castlegrante walked into the hotel lobby in search of the occupants and located 32-year-old Kevin Alan Smallman and 26-year-old Krystal Denean Ehrlich near the ground floor elevators.
Officer Castlegrante advised Smallman he was detained and requested additional officers via his portable radio. Moments later, Smallman ran from Officer Castlegrante. Officer Castlegrante ran after Smallman and advised over his portable radio he was in foot pursuit.
Smallman ran out of the hotel and entered the white Prius. Officer Castlegrante attempted to arrest Smallman while he was inside the vehicle. While Officer Castlegrante was struggling to arrest Smallman, Smallman started the vehicle and drove it away from the parking space trapping Officer Castlegrante inside.
As Officer Castlegrante continued to struggle with Smallman, the emergency button on the Officer’s portable radio was activated. This allowed dispatchers and other officers to hear the ongoing struggle. During this time, Officer Castlegrante is heard yelling repeatedly, “Don’t do it I’ll shoot you!” Officer Castlegrante then fired one round from his weapon striking Smallman. Shortly after, the Prius crashed into a block wall.
Responding Chandler officers located Officer Castlegrante and pulled him out of the car. They also removed Smallman and Ehrlich from the vehicle and immediately began to administer life-saving measures on Smallman until fire department personnel arrived at the scene. Officer Castlegrante, Smallman, and Ehrlich were all transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Smallman was pronounced deceased at the hospital. Officer Castlegrante was treated for injuries and released from the hospital later in the evening. Ehrlich was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, and then booked into the Maricopa County Jail on two drug related charges.
Officer Jonathan Castlegrante is 29-years-old and a seven-year veteran of Arizona law enforcement. He has been a police officer with the Chandler Police Department since February, 2018 after serving as a police officer with the Yuma Police Department for five years.
The investigation is ongoing.