GRAPHIC: Body-cam shows Phoenix officer shooting, killing man who reached for gun

Police say Matthew Sansotta reached for a gun before being shot once by a Phoenix officer.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 6:34 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Graphic body-cam video shows a police officer shooting and killing a man who reached for a gun at a Phoenix apartment complex last month. On Feb. 25, officers received a call about 36-year-old Matthew Anthony Sansotta driving erratically, swerving in the road and drinking while driving near Central Avenue and Bell Road. The caller told the dispatcher that Sansotta was speeding, almost hit a pedestrian and two cars, and was driving on the median. The caller followed Sansotta to an apartment complex near 12th Street and Grovers Avenue, just north of Bell Road.

Body-cam video shows officers parking next to Sansotta’s truck in the complex. Sansotta is lying back in the truck and has a bottle of alcohol in the center console. One officer goes to the window and tells him to get out, but he notices a rifle next to Sansotta. “Do you have any other weapons on you?” the officer asks. “No,” Sansotta replies. The officer pats him down but sees a gun in the driver’s door. The second officer goes back to his patrol car to begin a DUI investigation.

However, the second officer’s body-cam shows Sansotta moving toward the gun in the door. “Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing?” the officer says as a struggle breaks out. The officer pulls out a gun and holds it to Sansotta’s back, and a gunshot is heard. The other officer shoots Sansotta once, who immediately collapses. “He’s grabbing his gun. Man down,” one officer said. Police began performing CPR on Sansotta. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

The officer involved in the shooting is with the Black Mountain Precinct and has been with the department for over 14 years.