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Joshua Briese: Arizona tribe temporarily bans dances after fatal shooting of police officer

The Gila River Indian Community has issued a temporary ban on dances after a tribal police officer was fatally shot and another wounded while responding to a reported disturbance at a Santan home, tribal officials said Sunday. Stephen Roe Lewis, governor of the tribe south of Phoenix, said a special meeting of community council’s leaders was held Saturday night.

The council approved a temporary moratorium on all permitted and non-permitted dances in the community, effective immediately, along with enhanced penalties for trespassing and disorderly conduct, he said.

The Phoenix FBI and Gila River Police Department will conduct a joint investigation of the shooting, though many details have not yet been released.  The Arizona Republic reported that the shooting occurred at a teenager’s birthday party in Santan, located in one of the tribal community’s seven districts.

Joshua Briese, who had been with the Gila River Police Department for less than a year and had not completed field training, responded to the scene along with another tribal police officer around 2 a.m. Saturday on a 911 disturbance call involving a large crowd.

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Gila River Police Officer Joshua Briese was fatally shot and killed during a disturbance call at Gila River Indian Community. He was on the police force for less than a year and was in-field training. 

Police said multiple gunshots were fired and both officers were struck, with four other people wounded. Briese was declared dead at a hospital, and the other officer, whose name hasn’t been released yet, was listed in serious but stable condition, according to police.

One of the four people wounded later died, police said. The names of the victims weren’t immediately available Sunday. “We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues,” the FBI Phoenix said in a statement Saturday.

“Our hearts and prayers are with these police officers, their families, and everyone impacted by this tragic incident,” Gila River police said.  Briese, 23, was the son of a former sheriff’s deputy in Montana who also died in the line of duty.

The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that David Briese was killed in a November 2006 car crash. News reports said David Briese was responding at the time to a backup call for an officer who was dealing with a combative impaired driver in Billings, Montana.

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