Demonstrators want answers in deadly Scottsdale police shooting

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by Stacey Delikat

azfamily.com

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- About 75 demonstrators marched through downtown Scottsdale on Friday night to protest the shooting of man killed by a Scottsdale police officer.

"We're saying to the police department: we want a true, honest investigation to be done to make sure that this officer is held accountable if indeed this was not a justified shooting," said Kelly Pacon, who heard about the shooting and decided to join the demonstration.

The march came as Scottsdale city officials and the local police organization issued a call for calm and patience while an internal investigation and another by the Maricopa County Attorney gets underway.

On Tuesday night Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters shot and killed John Loxas.

Officers were called to 77th street and Garfield by neighbors who said Loxas was pointing a gun at them while holding a baby.

Loxas was in his house when officers arrived but eventually came to the door.

Police officials say Peters and another officer believed they saw a "black object" in Loxas' hand. He allegedly made a movement which officers saw as a threat and Peters opened fire.

Two loaded guns were found inside the doorway of Loxas' home, although police say he was not holding a weapon when he was shot.

Ofc. Peters has been involved in six other shootings, five of them fatal. He has been cleared of all wrongdoing in those previous cases.

Many demonstrators at Friday's march expressed concern over Peters' unusual record.

"I believe that Officer Peters need either some further training or we need to find out why he is involved in so many shootings," said Mike Hutchings, who attended the march.

Police authorities admit Ofc. Peters' record of shootings is highly unusual, but it is not unheard of.

Retired Baltimore police officer Robert Yamin shot six people during his police career.

"With each case being cleared, it makes him that much better at his job," said Yamin. "You can't put them all in a package and say he shoots everybody."

On Friday the Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement from the group's Vice President Ryan McKinnon.

"The night of February 14, 2012, was deeply tragic, as is any encounter that results in the loss of a life. Just as every police-involved shooting is investigated thoroughly and objectively, so will the events of February 14th be investigated. The more than 325 members of the Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police hope that, as we await the results of that investigation, calm will prevail in our City and no one will rush to judgment about what happened that night or about our colleague, Officer James Peters.

We remind all concerned that justice has at its core facts, not emotions, and that every Scottsdale police officer considers the use of force the most critical decision any law enforcement member can make.

No officer begins a shift knowing how that shift will end. But Friday night, as they have since Tuesday, our thoughts and our prayers go out to everyone touched by the night in question, from Jim Peters and his family to the Loxas family to the neighbors impacted by what happened before their eyes."

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane also released a statement, saying:  "I have spoken with Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and he has assured me that he will personally review these cases at the appropriate time. The public’s concern is understandable, but I encourage every citizen to refrain from reaching any conclusion before the thorough investigations of these incidents have been completed."

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