Cell phone video shows the moment a police officer fatally shot a suspect Tuesday morning who investigators said was trying to evade arrest in central Phoenix.
A 10-second video recorded by a man on his way to work shows the suspect walking away from the officer, then turn with a raised arm around 7:30 a.m. near the area of Osborn Road and Central Avenue. Moments later, a gunshot is heard.
Police said officers had partially handcuffed the man while attempting to arrest him for trespassing, and he raised his handcuffed arm threateningly with the jaw of the open cuff extended towards the officer.
Initially, Lt. Mark Tovar said the suspect "advanced on one police officer" with something in his hand. But Patrick McGee, the driver who recorded the video, said it appears the suspect was backing away when the officer fired a shot.
McGee used his phone to record the scene in his rearview mirror. He said at the time, he did not think the suspect was trying to strike the officer. When asked if he thought the suspect posed a threat to the officer, McGee said he didn't think so.
"You know, at the time, I could tell you my gut reaction in initially seeing it -- no. It did seem a little, you know any time you're seeing someone being shot in real life, it seems excessive. Especially when the person doesn't have shoes or a shirt and it's the summer in Arizona. You just think, 'Oh, that's a mentally troubled person,'" said McGee.
According to Phoenix police, it all started when employees of a nearby hotel contacted them about a man causing damage and getting into fights.
When police arrived at the Extended Stay America hotel, they tried to put him into custody.
But according to police, the man resisted. Officers fired two Tasers at him, but he was able to flee with one wrist handcuffed.
The unidentified man fled east on Osborn Road with an officer following him.
Lt. Tovar said the officer caught up with the suspect about a block and a half away.
"The suspect turned toward the officer, again, raising his hand which was handcuffed. The other handcuff had the open end, the jaw portion of that single strand toward the direction of the officer and at that point, that's when the officer discharged his service weapon, ending the threat," said Lt. Mark Tovar with the Phoenix Police Department.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams released the following statement about the video:
Early this evening, video evidence of the officer involved shooting near 200 West Osborn Avenue was discovered. It appears to show a brief but valuable perspective of this incident. As with all evidence gathered during the course of this investigation, the video will be extensively reviewed, evaluated, and compared with all available evidence and reports in order to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident. We ask for patience as we work through this investigation. I also want to thank the community member for sharing this video, this allows for us to continue with transparency.
The suspect was sent to the hospital in critical condition. He later died.
One officer was treated for a minor leg injury.