Bodycam footage shows Guadalupe man shooting at deputies near elementary school
GUADALUPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Edited body camera and drone footage shared by Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone on Thursday shows the moments a man shot at deputies across the street from an elementary school in Guadalupe. Penzone says 37-year-old Rolando Abel Rojas was shot and killed during the standoff on May 18.
That’s when deputies received a call about a man acting erratically while walking near Priest Drive and Baseline Road around 1:30 p.m. On Thursday, Penzone displayed a deputy’s bodycam video showing Rojas with a gun in his hand and walking in the neighborhood. “Put the gun down!” says the deputy in the video.
Penzone says Rojas ignored deputies and continued walking toward the nearby elementary school. The school was then put on lockdown, and Rojas went toward a house across the street from the school’s playground. Investigators said that Rojas then hid from deputies on the porch while people were inside. Body-camera footage shows a deputy ducking behind a Jeep and continues yelling, “put the gun down!” at Rojas. Shots are heard as Rojas shoots at the deputy, who is still behind the Jeep. Penzone added Rojas also began shooting at a drone.
In the drone video, Rojas holds a gun to his head and has a knife next to him while yelling at deputies. Rojas then puts the gun down and fumbles with it before shooting at deputies. An MCSO SWAT member then returns fire, shooting Rojas in the chest once. Penzone says Rojas died at the scene, and no deputies and no one in the house or the school were hurt.
“Our deputies did an exceptional job in their effort to contain him, to try to initiate some dialogue to de-escalate the circumstances. It was unsuccessful due to the behavior of the suspect,” said Penzone.
The sheriff added that the deadly force is only used as a last resort for deputies. “We do not choose deadly force as an option. Deadly force is the lack of an option where the behavior of a suspect is such a threat to the community that no other options available are going to stop that threat from occurring,” he explained.
According to Penzone, Rojas had stolen the gun from a Phoenix police officer’s vehicle the day before. Rojas had 19 prior arrests in El Mirage, Surprise and Phoenix for numerous charges. Arizona’s Family has requested the full unedited footage.
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