PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Relatives of an unarmed 30-year-old man who was shot and killed by Phoenix police are now pursing legal action.
According to Phoenix police, officers tried to detain Henry Wayne Rivera on Wednesday because he matched the description of a man suspected of shooting three people and kidnapping a woman. Police later arrested 27-year-old Eddison Noyola for that crime spree.
Rivera had outstanding warrants for trespassing and skipping court, according to public records. When officers tried to confront him, he jumped out of a motel room window and ran.
His girlfriend, Natalie Mejia, and their 4-month-old baby were in the motel room.
“[The officers] showed me a picture when they opened the door and said, ‘Is this him?’ I said no and I showed them my phone. I showed them his picture -- ‘this is him,’” she said. “Right away, I said he has no guns. There are no guns in the room. Right away, like right away, before I heard the shots. Before I heard the ambulance. Before all that.”
After jumping out of the motel window near 20th Avenue and Van Buren Street, police said Rivera ran through several yards and jumped over fences. He then ran to an automobile business near 19th Avenue and Monroe Street and took a vehicle, officers said.
Rivera stopped the vehicle on Monroe Street and officers moved in. As he got out of the car, police say Rivera did not follow commands and two officers opened fire.
“Regardless of him running, that doesn't mean that a cop could sit there and shoot him and take his life over a mistaken identity,” said Rivera’s step-daughter Alicia Gallo.
Mejia said Rivera was a good father who was never violent with her or her kids. She acknowledged he had a deep mistrust of the police and a tough upbringing.
“He was a good man. He didn't deserve to die regardless if he had a warrant. His warrants were never violent,” Mejia said.
In addition to the felony warrants for trespassing and skipping court, public records show Rivera was charged in 2018 with third degree burglary, fraudulent use of a credit card and theft.
Rivera was originally from Blythe, CA and had only been in the Valley for a few months, according to relatives. Family members said he was well-liked for his sense of humor and strong singing voice, and was working to turn his life around.
“My whole family is torn. Everybody. Even the hometown [of Blythe],” said Gallo, who started a GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses. “It really affects everybody.”