Teen killed, girl wounded in officer-involved shooting

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

PHOENIX -- Police said an 18-year-old man was killed and a 12-year-old girl was wounded in an officer-involved shooting at a north Phoenix home.

The 12-year-old girl is in stable condition with a non-life threatening injury.

The 18-year-old suspect had just completed Army basic training and was home on leave, according to Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Dept.

Police said he was armed with a gun. Somehow, his gun went off, and a bullet struck the 12-year-old girl.

It happened late Tuesday afternoon at a home near Tatum Boulevard and Deer Valley Road, near Desert Ridge.

Police said the man apparently was trying to get into the home of a 14-year-old girl, with whom he was having a relationship. When he showed up at her home, the girl said she felt threatened, and called police. Officers found the man in a wash, crying, with a gun to his head. They said he moved back toward the 14-year-old girl's home, and would not stop.

A picture taken by a neighbor shows the man, who was shot by police officers, wearing Army fatigues and carrying an Army-issued knapsack. The picture shows the 18-year-old man walking down the middle of a residential street with a gun to his head.

"They decided to use deadly force to keep him from going inside the home, armed, in the state of mind he was in," said Sgt. Crump.

One bullet went into the home, hitting the teen girl's 12-year-old sister in the leg. She was alert and talking to the paramedics, who brought her to Phoenix Children's Hospital. At this point, police believe the bullet which struck her came from the 18-year-old's gun.

"It appears from trajectories it was not us," said Crump. "From what our pilots witnessed, we believe the round was fired from the suspect's gun."

As police investigate this latest officer-involved shooting, they maintain the 18-year-old posed enough of a threat to trigger possibly lethal force.

"When you take the current climate, the last thing an officer wants to do is shoot somebody," Crump said.

No police officers were injured in the shooting.

The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital in critical condition where he was undergoing surgery but later died.