Man in wheelchair shot to death by Phoenix police

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2011 6:58 PM
Man in wheelchair shot to death by Phoenix police

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A man in a wheelchair was shot to death by two Phoenix police officers on Saturday after he pointed a handgun at them, a police spokesman said.

The man, who was not identified by authorities, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting at a downtown bus and light rail station, Sgt. Steve Martos said.

Martos said two veteran officers responded to a call of shots fired at the station at about 2:20 p.m. Witnesses said the man had assaulted his girlfriend and he may have shot a gun.

The officers said they approached the man, who became belligerent and initially wheeled away from them, Martos said.

The man then swung back and wheeled toward officers, pulling a gun out of his waistband, Martos said, and ignored commands to drop the weapon.

"The suspect then raised and pointed his handgun at officers," Martos said in a statement. "Fearing for their life, the officers shot the suspect."

Martos said the officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy in officer-involved shootings.

(Reporting by David Schwartz. Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Ian Simpson)