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BWC: Man threatens neighbors, Ariz. officers with death, reaches for knife before OIS

By Joanna Putman

YUMA, Ariz. — Newly released body camera footage shows Yuma Police Department officers firing shots at a man who threatened to kill people and their dog, according to a briefing by Chief Thomas Garrity.

“[The shooting was] a tragedy for the community and all the individuals involved,” Garrity stated.

Dispatch audio released along with video from the April 12 incident shows multiple callers complaining of a man yelling, banging on trailers and making death threats.

Click below to see full video.

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Yuma Police Department

Body camera from the officers arriving at the scene shows their encounter with the man, who was armed with a long-bladed knife or machete. After an officer instructed the man to drop the weapon, he refused and began to walk away from officers.

“Don’t chase after me, I did nothing wrong,” the man insisted as he walked away. He told the officer the black dog standing with him was a pit bull and that he should leave “for his own safety.” He also said that there were people inside his trailer who had broken in.

Officers spoke with the suspect for several minutes, attempting to de-escalate the situation. The suspect continued to walk away quickly while hurling insults and threats at the officers.

“You’re not detaining me m*****f*****, or you’ll die,” the man yelled.

After several minutes of verbal instruction to drop the weapon, officers deployed a TASER, which was ineffective. The man continued to yell and began to move away from the officers faster. Another TASER deployment brought the man to the ground.

As officers approached the man to detain him, he began to move around and reached for the knife on the ground next to him. Several shots were fired, striking the man.

“The suspect threatened the officers with a weapon, at which time officers fired their service weapons to stop the immediate threat to them,” Garrity stated.

Officers rendered emergency first aid within a minute and a half after the last shot was fired, according to the briefing. The suspect was transported to the hospital and received medical treatment. The critical incident briefing and video released on May 17 do not provide an update on the man’s condition.

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