The Tucson Police Department held a press conference Monday to release officer body camera video from an officer-involved shooting on March 15.
The incident took place in the 5600 block of East Pima Road, near the corner of Pima and Van Buren.
Carlos Alegria, 40, faces three counts of Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer with a Simulated Weapon and five counts of Disorderly Conduct with a Dangerous Instrument. TPD says he had been threatening construction workers with a knife, and had a BB gun when police arrived.
The video includes body cam video from two officers responding to the scene.
Police Chief Chris Magnus says the agency wanted to release the video because it shows how quickly officers confront life and death situations. The BB gun the suspect was holding looked very much like a real handgun, Magnus said, and officers asked him repeatedly to drop it.
"I see what appears to be an incredibly difficult set of circumstances," Magnus said.
"I certainly appreciate how hard it is to deal with something that unfolds that quickly, but again we're not allowed to get into specifics in terms of evaluating this," Magnus said. "We do have a very thorough process into what happened.
When police approached the suspect and determined he was no longer a threat, they immediately began giving him medical treatment.
"It would be very consistent with training and best practices, not to assume someone is fully incapacitated and to really make sure the threat has been resolved before we start rendering aid or doing anything further," Magnus said.
Each officer is equipped with an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK)
. The kits provide officers with the tools they need to help trauma victims before medics arrive. TPD says since the IFAK program began in 2014 they have been used 180 times, including 8 officer-involved shootings.
"We have professional police officers, that is their training and I can't say it in any more of a succinct way," said Captain Eric Kazmierczak. "That's absolutely their training."
"They know from the second they have that kit in their that it's their responsibility to use it when appropriate, and when it's called for," Kazmierczak said.
Body camera video is a relatively new concept, Magnus says, and the department will take each one on a case-by-case basis. He wants to remain as transparent as possible.
"This is still really an emerging issue in law enforcement, not just in Arizona but all around the country," Magnus said. "There are many departments and jurisdictions where decisions are made not to be quite this transparent, so we're treading on somewhat new ground here."
TPD has 70 body cameras, but Magnus says they have applied for grants to get one for each of the departments roughly 330 patrol officers. Some of the issues with the cameras, Magnus says, is they are expensive and storing the data is difficult.
"Body camera information and evidence is certainly helpful, but it gives you just one perspective and it's a narrow one at that," Magnus said.
"Even between the two officers, you see very different perspectives from the different body cameras, and you can imagine what the officer saw and perceived is quite more than the cameras picked up," Magnus said.
According to a TPD press release from March, the Office of Professional Standards is investigating the actions of the officers who responded which is standard in all officer involved shootings. Because it is an ongoing investigation, TPD did not want to comment on the specifics of the incident.
The two officers who discharged their guns were Officer Mark Molina, a 19 year veteran with TPD, and Officer Gary Rosebeck, an 8 year veteran with TPD. Both are back on duty.