Phoenix police officer shoots, kills suspected drug dealer

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PHOENIX -- A Phoenix police officer shot and killed a suspected drug dealer during a struggle Tuesday evening.

It happened shortly before 6 p.m. near 25th Avenue and Greenway Road after police received a 911 call reporting that a man appeared to be selling drugs out of a black Cadillac SUV at a 7-Eleven.

An officer in the area was provided with a license plate number of the SUV and a description of the male suspect. He found the vehicle in the parking lot of the apartment complex where the registered owner lived. A second witness at the apartment complex told the officer about drug sales involving the vehicle.

The driver, later identified as Rumain Brisbon, 34, got out of the vehicle and appeared to remove something from the back seat, according to police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump. As the suspect closed the door, the officer gave several commands for Brisbon to show him his hands.

"Brisbon placed one or both hands in his waistband area, which caused the officer to draw his weapon and illuminate the suspect with his flashlight," Crump said.

Brisbon fled toward the apartments. The officer caught up to Brisbon and tried to detain him, but he refused and yelled profanities at the officer, according to witnesses.

Crump said Brisbon and the officer got into a struggle in the doorway of an apartment during which Brisbon put his hand in his pocket. The officer grabbed onto the suspect's hand and believed he felt the handle of a gun inside the man's pocket.

The officer was unable to maintain his grip on the suspect's hand during the struggle. Fearing Brisbon had a gun in his pocket, the officer fired two rounds, striking him in the torso.

Backup officers began CPR until the Phoenix Fire Department arrived and treated Brison at the scene. He later was pronounced dead.

"This one went bad from the standpoint of how it ended," Crump said at a press conference Wednesday, "but the officer was doing exactly what we want him to do and that is fight crime."

He said the item being held in Brisbon's pocket was a pill vial containing a number of oxycodone tablets.

"All I know is I ain't never seen him do a transaction," said Brandon Dickerson, who claimed he was with Brisbon that night. "Only thing I know is he got some food, he went to take his food to the kids, and I ain't seen him no more."

Police said Brisbon's girlfriend lives at the apartment with children.

Police found a semiautomatic handgun and a jar containing what is believed to be marijuana inside the vehicle.

"I don't care what they found in his car," said the Rev. Jarett Maupin, a local civil rights activist. "He wasn't armed and didn't have marijuana on his body ... when this incident happened."

Crump said Brisbon has a criminal record.

The officer, Mark Rine, was not injured during the incident. Crump said Rine is 30 years old and has been with the Phoenix Police Department for seven years. Rine has been reassigned to a non-enforcement duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

"We don't have a duty to retreat as a police officer," Crump said. "In fact, we have a duty to investigate."