TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A family is reeling tonight, after an unarmed 19 year-old man was fatally shot by a Pima County Sheriff’s deputy.
This happened January 20, when the department got a call about a man trying to break into cars, in a neighborhood near Overton Road and La Cholla Boulevard.
When deputies arrived at the scene, the suspect had already left, but witnesses provided a description of the suspect's car.
Hours later, deputies saw a car matching the suspect's description near the area of the attempted break-ins.
The man driving was identified as 19-year-old Bradley Lewis, who the Sheriff's Department said was wanted for an aggravated assault involving a gun. Deputies knew about those charges.
Lewis did not stop when deputies tried to pull him over, but drove to a home in a nearby neighborhood.
Deputies said Lewis got out of the car quickly with something dark in his hand. They said Lewis charged at Deputy Gilbert Caudillo with the item in his hand.
Deputy Caudillo fired his gun, striking and killing Lewis.
The 19-year-old man’s family sent out a statement earlier today, and Sheriff Chris Nanos responded.
The family tells KGUN9 they are devastated and were unable to go on camera.
Over the phone, Lewis’ uncle told us his nephew had a larger than life personality. He was courageous, charismatic, loved people and adventure.
In a statement, his grandmother, in part, says:
Our family is devastated by the loss of our only grandson, Bradley Alexander “Alex” Lewis. We look forward to a full and thorough investigation into his death…
Pima County Sheriff Nanos, agrees.
"When they’ve completed their investigation they will take that investigation to the county attorney and review the matter with them. Once the county attorney makes the decision, from there we will look at internally to see what we believe could have been done differently. We want to know that we’ve covered all bases of it, don't take these things lightly," Sheriff Nanos tells KGUN9.
While both the Sheriff and Lewis’ family want answers, Nanos says there were no dash-cams in the deputies’ cars nor were deputies wearing body cameras.
“We’ve never had body cameras. We need body cameras. It's just that plain and simple. and that’s something I am pursuing right now with the Board of Supervisors and Mr. Huckleberry. We’ve put it into our budget as a request item for funding and we’re hoping to get that approved,” Sheriff Nanos added.
In the same statement, the grandmother, says:
We cannot understand why the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in their recent statement withheld the fact that many police fired multiple shots at the scene...
The Sheriff’s response:
“I would rather let’s wait for the investigation to come out with the facts that they know and present them, and we’ll go forward from there,” he told KGUN9.
In the same statement, Lewis’ grandmother continues saying:
They claim Alex fit the description of a suspect accused of unsuccessfully breaking into a car and that he resisted a traffic stop. Is it any wonder, after so many high-profile accusations against police using excessive force, this young man, a veteran, would attempt to reach his home and the family he thought could calm the scores of police chasing him? Unfortunately for all of us, we failed him. And now after learning the police shot him and let him bleed to death in the driveway because they felt threatened by a “key fob”, we cannot help but think the Pima County Sheriff’s Department failed him as well.
“I understand that the family is hurting and grieving and like I said, my prayers go out to them...but these incidents are never easy and in fact, it not only impacts that family...it impacts my officers and my team as well,” responded Sheriff Nanos when KGUN9 informed him of what the family had stated.
Lewis’ family says he is going to be missed by many and his loss has left them with a huge hole. They look forward to a thorough and complete investigation that they hope will lead to answers and eventually some closure.