Edited video shows scuffle between Tempe officer, shoplifting suspect before deadly shooting

New edited video from Tempe police shows what happened right up to an shoplifting suspect gets shot by an officer.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 9:30 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The Tempe Police Department released an edited body-cam video on Thursday that shows the moments leading up to an officer shooting a shoplifting suspect who had a knife. The video starts with the 20-year veteran officer running after the man in the area of Priest Drive and Elliott Road on May 9 around 7:30 p.m. Police say the man, who still hasn’t been identified, stole a soundbar from a nearby Walmart. The officer trips during the chase but eventually tackles the suspect, and the two get into a scuffle on the ground.

The video appears to show the officer trying to put the man in handcuffs. Then, about 27 seconds in, the sound comes on. “You take that out; I’m going to shoot you,” the officer yells, referencing the knife the suspect has. “Do you understand me!? Drop it right now!” The officer continues to say stop it and drop the knife. “If you don’t drop the knife, I swear to God, I’m going to shoot you!” the officer said in the video.

Tempe police said on Wednesday the suspected shoplifter who was shot by a veteran officer near a Walmart has died in the hospital.

About a minute later, the suspect gets free, and both men get on their feet. The officer pulls out his gun. “Put it down now! Get on the ground !” the officer shouts. The man gets on his knees, then on his feet with the knife in his hand, police said. The officer continues to shout to the man to drop the knife. The man then gets down on all fours and crawls toward the officer. “Stay right there!” the officer yells. The man continues to crawl as the officer backs up, and then the officer fires his gun once. The suspect is hit, but the video fades to black before the shot is seen. The suspect was taken to the hospital, where he later died. No officers were hurt.