A Valley man was fatally shot Saturday afternoon by a Department of Public Safety officer during a traffic stop two miles south of Rye.
Officer Jarom Lewis stopped a blue, Pontiac passenger car for speeding northbound on Highway 87 shortly before 3 p.m.
Officer Steve Volden, DPS spokesman, said 47-year-old Robert Andrew Moreland, of Apache Junction, was a passenger in the car driven by his partner, Janice Renee Worthington, 46, Phoenix.
DPS Sgt. John Whetten said Lewis suspected the couple had drugs in the car.
"(Lewis) received consent from Worthington to search her car," Whetten said in a press release. "(Moreland) exited the vehicle and became very upset and belligerent. As he became more angry, he returned to the vehicle and reached inside."
Lewis, in fear for his life, shot Moreland one time in the chest, Whetten said.
Volden said Moreland was flown to John C. Lincoln hospital where he later died of his injuries.
Worthington was taken in for questioning and the vehicle has been impounded until it can be searched. The details of the incident including what prompted the shooting and whether drugs or weapons were found in the vehicle are unavailable, Volden said.
Lewis has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure. He is 26 years old and has been with DPS for three years.
"The incident is under investigation by the DPS Special Investigations Unit," Whetten said.