Man killed, 2 police officers injured in shooting

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 17 at 1:27 PM

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PHOENIX -- Phoenix police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a civilian dead and two officers injured Thursday afternoon.

About 1:45 p.m., police officers responded to a call from a home near 51st Street and Thomas Road.

A sergeant was first on scene and was met by a man who was worried about his son, 26-year-old Raul Altimirano Suarez Jr.

The man said his son was behaving erratically and had jumped their backyard fence into a neighbor's yard while naked.

The 46-year-old male sergeant went into a bathroom where Suarez was showering and told the man to come out so he could get him some help.

Suarez, who was described as having a crazed look in his eyes, got out of the shower and tried to reach for the sergeant's firearm and stun gun, according to police.

Suarez reportedly told the sergeant he had taken heroin and another drug the sergeant could not understand.

A 42-year-old female officer arrived at the home and tried to help the sergeant take Suarez into custody but he began fighting them, police said.

He allegedly kicked and struck both officers numerous times and threatened to kill them, saying he was Satan and Jesus Christ. He also reportedly told the officers they might as well shoot him.

Police said the officers used their stun guns but the devices had no effect on Suarez.

Police said the sergeant was approached by Suarez while backed into a corner and, fearing further injury, fired one shot at the man, according to police.

Suarez was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sergeant was transported to a local hospital with contusions on his leg, knee and elbow. He was treated and released Thursday.

The officer said she was sore from the fight but was not taken to a hospital.

Officers had contacted Suarez on Wednesday after neighbors reported he was in their yard. He was naked, sweating profusely, and acting strangely, according to police.

The residents did not want to press charges on Suarez, so he was taken home, police said.

Police said when Suarez again entered the neighboring property on Thursday, he broke a window with a shovel, apparently trying to break into the house. He returned home on his own and his father called police.

As with all officer-involved shootings, the incident is being investigated criminally and internally, according to police. The sergeant will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Police said the sergeant has been with the department for 21 years and the officer 16 years.

This officer-involved shooting comes less than two weeks after the shootout that killed Det. John Hobbs and wounded Det. A.J. Casados.

"That was a very, very dark time in our department's history, but we continue to do our job," police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said. "We continue to respond to domestic violence calls and other types of calls. As police officers, we know that there's an inherent danger, and we find ourselves at another officer-involved shooting."

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