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A tribal police officer and a civilian were killed in a shooting at the Gila River Indian Community, near Phoenix, Arizona, in the early morning of June 1. Tribal police are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to better understand what happened, according to a statement from the Gila River Police Department.

At 2 am on Saturday morning, Gila River tribal police officers responded to an incident at a home in Santan, District 4 in the Gila River Indian community. There was a large crowd of people, and multiple gunshots were fired, according to the Gila River Police Department. According to the tribal governor, the gathering was a community dance.

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Six people were shot during the incident, including two police officers. One of the officers, Joshua Briese, died at the hospital as a result of his injuries, according to police. Briese has been with the department for less than a year and was still in field training.

The second person, an unidentified community member, also died at the hospital. The remaining three individuals are being treated for their conditions, according to police. The second officer “remains in serious but stable condition” after surgery.

The Gila River Police Department is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to conduct a joint investigation of the incident. They are encouraging witnesses of the incident to contact the Gila River Police Department at (520) 562-7144  as soon as possible. 

In response to the fatal shooting, Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis issued a moratorium on dances within the community.

“For the health and safety of the community it is appropriate to place a moratorium on permitted and non-permitted dances within the exterior boundaries of the reservation,” the moratorium reads.

Lewis said in a statement that the tribe is coordinating closely with law enforcement “to make sure we have a comprehensive understanding of what happened here.”

“I know I speak for our entire community when I say that we grieve for our fallen and injured police officers and every community member touched by such tragic violence,” he wrote. “Nothing cuts deeper than a life cut short.”

National Congress of American Indians President Mark Macarro, tribal chaiman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, called for a moment of silence at the organization’s mid-year convention in Cherokee, North Carolina on Monday morning on honor of those who lost their lives.



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