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Deputy kills man in westside fight

Suspect could have reached deputy's gun
Posted at 4:29 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 09:42:21-04

A Pima County Sheriff's deputy was locked in hand to hand combat with a suspect Tuesday night when he shot and killed the man.

That's what the Sheriff's Department says happened at a spot on the west side, on Claude Street near Leonard Avenue.

Investigators say the deputy followed the man There because he suspected the man had been trying to lure children into his car.

They ended up in a fight, that the deputy ended with his gun.

Deputy Kody Knodle was checking a complaint call of a man trying to lure children into his car.  Over the past few months there have been several similar complaints in this general area.    

Sheriff Chris Nanos says 24 year old Carlos Antonio Gastelum got out of his car, confronted the deputy, and they ended up rolling around on the ground.

The Sheriff says even if Gastelum had no weapon there was still a deadly threat because Gastelum could reach the deputy's gun.

"He's on top of the deputy.  So anytime you get into a physical fight with an armed individual whether it's a deputy or a suspect that weapon becomes accessible to either party in the fight.  It's just a matter now who controls who or who controls that weapon.  In this case our deputy was able to retain control of his weapon and the bad guy lost."

Sheriff Nanos says even if the deputy could reach one of his weapons less likely to kill, like a TASER, he only had split seconds to make his decision.

“It is really a matter of I need to survive here.  And if I can Taze you and do that, I would.  If I can pepper spray you and do that, I would.  But if only I have one option here and that is because I'm about to, maybe they're choking me and I'm about to pass out, or you've knocked me out, I've got to stop that threat and in this case, the deputy's best option, in his mind was to use his firearm.”

The sheriff says investigators will interview the deputy to learn if the man did have a  weapon.From the fight alone the deputy got head wounds, cuts and scrapes but was well enough to be treated at the hospital and released.