Only civilian witness to Mesa police shooting testifies in cop's murder trial

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Former Mesa police officer Mitch Brailsford (left) is being tried for murder in the January 2016 shooting death of Daniel Shaver (right) at a Mesa hotel. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos) Former Mesa police officer Mitch Brailsford (left) is being tried for murder in the January 2016 shooting death of Daniel Shaver (right) at a Mesa hotel. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Prosecutors questioned a key witness Thursday in the murder trial of former Mesa police officer Mitch Brailsford. He is charged with murder for the on-duty shooting death of Daniel Shaver in January 2016 in the hallway of a Mesa La Quinta Hotel.

Monique Portillo is the only civilian eyewitness to the shooting of Shaver.

[RELATED: Jurors in Arizona see video of officer killing unarmed man]

Portillo described how she and a male co-worker met Shaver about an hour before he was shot in the hallway of the La Quinta. The three of them were all there on business staying in separate rooms when they were invited by Shaver to his room for a drink. Once inside the two men started fawning over a pellet rifle Shaver had with him. Shaver told the pair he used it for work.

“It had a scope on it. It was pretty big. It was long. It looked like a hunting gun,” said Portillo.

Portillo said she warned the guys, as they passed the rifle back and forth and pointed it out the window of the fifth-floor hotel room checking out the scopes.

“I was like, 'hey you guys, don't be so close to the window people may get the wrong idea,'” said Portillo on the stand.

Someone did get the wrong idea. Guests who were in the pool area saw the rifle in the window above them and call 911. The next thing Portillo knew she was being ordered out of the room at police gunpoint.  

[SPECIAL SECTION: Mesa officer shoots, kills unarmed man at Mesa hotel]

“I just did what they asked me to do, crawl to them and then immediately, I got handcuffed and I was taken to the end of the hallway,” said Portillo. 

Portillo was still in the hall when Shaver was ordered to do the same thing. But that ended very differently.

“As he was crawling out, I guess his shorts were falling down because of the material of his basketball shorts. And trying to crawl with your hands up this way, I mean out of reaction, you’re going to try to pull up your shorts. And he … he … they shot him,” said Portillo.

During cross-examination by Brailsford's defense attorney, Portillo testified that she told officers after she was in the hallway with them that she did not know if Shaver was armed when he was coming into the hallway.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Officer-involved shooting at a Mesa La Quinta Inn leaves man dead]

She also told officer she believed Shaver was shot because he didn't follow protocol.

Testimony resumes on Monday. 

[RELATED: Mesa cop facing murder charge 'very confident' he'll be exonerated]


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