Phoenix police ID knife-throwing man shot by officer

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Joshua Dawson By Jennifer Thomas Joshua Dawson By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have identified a 35-year-old man who was shot by an officer Thursday morning.

Police said Joshua G. Dawson was throwing rocks and knives outside of a newly constructed building on Union Hills Drive east of Interstate 17 around 7 a.m.

"A citizen reported that he had arrived at his worksite, which is a building under construction," said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard. "When he got here, he saw a man on the property that he didn't recognize. He drove over to identify that man. That man immediately began to attack his car and throw large rocks at it, causing some damage."

The citizen was able to drive away and call police.

When officers arrived, Dawson began banging on their vehicles and throwing knives.

"The suspect immediately began attacking the police car, punching it and striking it," Howard said. "The second officer arrived shortly after. As that officer was getting out of his car the man turned his aggression towards him, began throwing knives, multiple knives, at the officer, some of which struck the police car."

Howard said while Dawson was in the process of throwing a knife at the second officer, that officer shot him.

Dawson was transported to a local hospital where he later died.

No officers were injured in the incident.

During the investigation, two additional victims reported contact with Dawson prior to police involvement. They told investigators that they were working in the area when they saw him pacing back and forth and making incoherent statements.

They said at one point, Dawson intentionally ran and slammed his head into a rolling metal door, causing damage. As the men left the area to report the incident to their supervisor, Dawson reportedly threw a knife at their vehicle, causing damage.

The men did not report the incident to police until after the officer-involved shooting.  

The officer who shot Dawson will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, as is normal procedure. Howard said the 52-year-old officer, whose name has not been released, has 25 years' experience.