Man with gun at Tempe mall charged with attempted homicide of officer

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Roger Nelson By Jennifer Thomas Roger Nelson By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. – A 19-year-old man is facing attempted murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery charges after an incident at Arizona Mills Mall Monday night.

According to the Tempe Police Department, Roger Nelson lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a light pole and a tree north of the mall at Baseline Road and Priest Drive. Witnesses said Nelson was driving fast and going the wrong way on a one-way access street.

Nelson then got out of his car and pointed a gun at people in the parking lot, according to police. Officials said he ran into the mall, displayed the gun and began waving it around.

Nelson went into the Famous Footwear store where he took two pairs of shoes. He allegedly pointed his weapon at the store employee behind the counter.

Police officers and mall security established a perimeter and cleared people from the mall.

A uniformed police officer spotted Nelson walking south from the mall exit and asked him to put his hands on top of his head so he could pat him down, according to court paperwork. Nelson allegedly pointed the gun at the officer's chest from a short distance away and made comments of his intention to harm him.

The officer deflected the weapon and wrestled it away during a struggle.

The officer deployed a Taser and Nelson was taken into custody.

According to court paperwork, Nelson is charged with one count of attempted murder of a police officer, one count of aggravated assault on a police officer and one count of armed robbery.

Police are working to determine if Nelson is responsible for any other crimes.