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TPD officer kills man in close-quarters confrontation

TPD says man pulled gun
Posted at 7:43 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 22:43:45-04

TUCSON, Ariz - A Tucson Police officer -- shot and killed a man -- just after midnight on Sunday.

Officers responded to a burglary call and found themselves facing a man with a gun -- who apparently had nothing to do with the original call.

The incident began as a call of a burglary in progress on a street near S. 12 and Drexel---a high priority call because of the potential a homeowner could be face to face with a burglar.

Officers saw a car leaving the scene and stopped it. Police say when they did, three people got out and ran away.

Police say they go to the apartments at 5601 S. 12th and bystanders suggest a particular apartment they should check. They go to the apartment, the people inside let them in and allow them to search, and there in a back bathroom, police run into a man with a gun.

Mike Storie is an attorney who represents police officers for the Tucson Police Officer's Association.

He says officers just ask to talk to the man.

"At first, they don't see a weapon but what happens is, he comes at them and they have to go hands-on and then the weapons is produced."

Storie says because officers were holding the man, trying to keep him from pointing his gun, they were having trouble reaching their guns. Finally one officer was able to draw and fire.

Storie says, “Everyone thinks officers go in and de-escalate everything they try to, but it's really the the actions of the subject that determine what's going to happen. And if they're just compliant and say, let's talk about this, we're done. It's over. But once you pull out a gun, and point it at an Officer, they have no other choice."

Storie says it does not matter that the man was apparently not connected to the burglary call. The confrontation and threat are what matters.

Officers had no way to know at the time, but the dead man, now identified as 31 year old Carlos Vale, was wanted on Federal felony warrants.

Storie says now two officers are on paid leave while investigators decide if the shooting was justified.