PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Phoenix Police Department released an edited body-cam video that shows officers exchanging gunfire with a 77-year-old homeowner who was confused as to why the police were there. The shooting happened on June 29 around 10:15 p.m. in the area of Ninth and Turney avenues, which is north of Indian School Road. Investigators said the officers were at the home because of a burglar alarm. They could hear the alarm going off but they couldn't see anyone around. One officer checked out the outside of the house to see if it was broken into but didn't find anything. The second officer knocked on the front door but no one answered. He opened the door and said, "Phoenix police." The phrase was repeated but no answer.
The Phoenix Police Department says the homeowner fired first.
After eight minutes, a 911 dispatcher called the house but no one picked up. An officer tried talking to a neighbor but no one answered. Another eight minutes go by and a third officer arrives. "My worry is, elderly couple, might not be able to hear us," said the second officer. "Right, just can't hear anything that's going on," said the third officer. "I don't want to go in there and this guy owns a (expletive) .44," said the second officer. The third officer yells, "Phoenix police," and bangs on the security door.
A few minutes later, the homeowner, 77-year-old Ernest Kaufmann, came out to the front room with a gun, wearing just his underwear. The three officers ran for cover. "Phoenix police! Drop the gun!" shouted one of the officers. Kaufmann then walked to the front door and opened fire, police said. Two of the three officers returned fire, hitting Kaufmann in the leg. He went back inside, then came out without the gun. Officers placed Kaufmann in handcuffs and put a tourniquet on his leg. "I can't hear that well. I have a hearing problem. Why did you break into my house?" Kaufmann is heard saying on the body-cam video.
He was taken to the hospital, where he spent a few days recovering. No one else was hurt. Kaufmann was then released and could face aggravated assault charges, police said. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is looking over the case and will decide whether to prosecute.
The officers' names haven't been released. The two officers who returned fire both have more than two years of experience at the Phoenix Police Department.