Police shoot, kill man who allegedly stole patrol car, hit officer in West Phoenix
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Phoenix Police Department says a man was shot and killed by officers after allegedly stealing a patrol car and hitting an officer. It happened near 75th Avenue and Buckeye Road around 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Police say they were called to the area after hearing of two men refusing to get out of a bus. After an officer showed up, the men agreed to get off the bus, but one of the men, later identified as 39-year-old Adam Vespoli, walked away and got into a patrol car. While the officer spoke to the other man, Vespoli climbed into the driver’s seat and closed the door. The officer then began running after the vehicle. Vespoli then drove off, hitting the officer in the leg. At that point, the officer shot Vespoli. Vespoli was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries. Police say the officer was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Vespoli’s father Mike was shocked when detectives showed up to his house Saturday afternoon. “I’ve been crying all day long because I can’t grasp what happened. I’m devastated by what happened today. I lost a son. No parent should lose a child before they die. No parent,” said Mike.
Mike says his son Adam was addicted to heroin. Adam was seeking treatment. He left Mike a voicemail early Saturday morning saying he was arrested overnight for sleeping beneath an underpass. He was calling to ask his dad for a ride to the clinic.
“I can’t tell you what my son was going through in that moment, but I’ve been with him for 39 years and he has never been threatening to kill or hurt somebody. But understand he was hurting, and he was probably dope sick,” said Mike.
Mike wants to know how his son Adam was able to get into the squad car and drive it away. Mike thinks officers should lock their car doors if they aren’t inside of it. That could have kept his son alive. “I’m in total shock that my son who I love dearly and will miss him forever was killed by a police officer,” he said.
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