Deputy Sheriff William Coleman, age 50, was shot and killed while responding to a burglary call in Anthem at approximately 4:15 am January 8, 2012.
As he and another deputy arrived at the scene they encountered a male subject inside of a van at a medical building near the intersection of Anthem Way and Gavilan Peak Parkway. As they attempted to make contact with the man he opened fire on them with a rifle, striking Deputy Coleman below his vest. The suspect was killed by return gunfire from other deputies.
Deputy Coleman was transported to John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Deputy Coleman had served with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and several children, two of whom are 4 and 7 years old.
Last year, 2011, was one of the deadliest in recent history for law enforcement officers, with 173 killed in the line of duty as of Dec. 28, 2011, a 13 percent increase from 2010, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Of those, 68 federal, state and local officers were killed by gunfire in 2011, a 15 percent jump from the year before. So far in 2012, there have been four officers killed in the line of duty, all by gunfire.