What began as a regular shift for Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New ended in tragedy when another driver ran a red light on May 31.
The 27-year-old police officer died after his patrol car was struck by the other vehicle at the intersection of Cave Creek Road and Greenway Parkway.
Christopher Castro, 31, the driver of the vehicle that hit New, died on impact. Police said speed and impairment are believed to be contributing factors in the crash, and they intend to confirm the type of impairment through further toxicology reports.
Another officer from New’s squadron, who was not identified, was riding behind New’s patrol car and saw the event unfold.
New’s vehicle was sent barreling into a block wall of a nearby Chevron gas station, where the vehicle came to a rest on its side.
The Phoenix Fire Department spent the next several moments attempting to extract New from his severely damaged Tahoe. Once extricated, New was transported to HonorHealth John C. Lincoln hospital, where he died of his injuries.
New was just hours into his shift.
Prior to joining Phoenix Police Department in July 2019, New served as a U.S. Marine. Once out of the service, he received his EMT certification and worked as a nurse for Long View Elementary School.
“He was well-liked by the staff, the school and the kids,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Ann E. Justus said. “They all loved him and his great sense of humor.”
After leaving the school behind, New became a recruit in training classes and was later assigned to Black Mountain Precinct’s field training program.
“From seeing his squad out there that night, this is a loss they’re going to feel for a long time,” Justus said. “All the officers have described this as a huge loss.”
New is survived by his wife Kristen, mother Misty, brother Marcas and grandmother Susan, police said.
“Everybody is still just trying to process this loss,” Justus said.
One of the ways the department is helping the family and officers has been through its employee assistance unit.
“We have a great employee assistance unit that was out there that night, and they continue to follow up with officers,” Justus said.
The unit will also continue to follow up with New’s family.
“We want to express to the family how sad we are for them and that this is such a tragic loss, but we will be there for them,” Justus said. “We want the family to know that we are their family as well, and we will be there for them for whatever they need.”
The department has given officers in New’s unit time off to process the loss of a fallen officer and friend. Despite being shaken by the loss, however, the Phoenix Police Department still plans to protect and serve the community.
“What we are telling our employees is that this is a loss that we are going to lean into each other on, and we are going to get through this and continue serving the community while we work for this process,” Justus said.
Justus said the community’s response has been uplifting.
“We want to thank their community for their outpouring of support. Our department has received calls, emails and drop in visitors from all over to let us know that they care,” Justus said.
But, aside from the words of affirmation, the community has paid tribute to New in other ways.
“People have shown us so much that they care just by going around and placing blue ribbons everywhere and telling officers that they are so thankful. That is what keeps us going through these rough times,” Justus said.
Justus wants this incident to serve as a lesson to the public about defensive driving.
“We want to remind people to be cognizant of the roadway and to watch their speeds and watch for red lights. This is an accident that could have been prevented,” Justus emphasized.
For those who wish to donate to New’s family, visit phoenixpolicefoundation.org.