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Tucson Police kill man in park near I-10

Andres Diaz says the gunman kicked his fence, and shot at him before the man went on to confront police. TPD says detectives have heard a story similar to Diaz but regard it as unconfirmed

Tucson Police kill man in park near I-10

CREATED Jan 19, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson Police shot and killed a man Wednesday night in a park near Speedway and I-10.

Police say when the man pointed a gun at them he became a threat they had to stop.
     
One man in the neighborhood told us a frightening story about what the man did to him, before police arrived.

When Andres Diaz first saw the man, "He was walking down the street talking to himself."

Diaz says the man came over, kicked his fence, then walked about a block down the street, and shot at him.

"I never said, hey, what are you doing, nothing, not a word.  He's like, 'what are you looking at' and I'm like, wow, and I say, whack, whack.  I'm like, schwoo (Bullets) ...whiz by and I come back into the gate and I close it and I'm like, what just happened? Did what just happened, happen?"

Tucson Police say they're heard a report like the one Andres Diaz told us, but they regard it as unconfirmed right now.

Tucson Police say they found the man in Riverfront Park, ordered him to drop the gun, and show them his hands..

TPD Sgt. Matt Ronstadt says, "He would show one hand, then he would show the other hand, but he wouldn't show both hands at the same time."
 
Soon, four officers were facing the man.  He finally did put both hands in the air.

Sgt. Ronstadt says, "At that point they can clearly see a gun in his hand; and just moments later he lowered the hand with the gun towards the officers, pointing the gun towards the officers."

To end the threat, two officers fired and hit the man at least once.  Police called paramedics but the man died at the scene.

Susan Sante' lives across the street from the shooting.  She wishes police had aimed to wound the man.

"It seems to me that there's an awful lot of people who are mentally ill or young and dumb or drugged in some way who get shot and killed and I just think it's excessive."

People ask so often why police can't shoot just to wound, we asked them too.

Sgt. Ronstadt explained: "It requires marksmanship that is unrealistic, impractical and really is something that you see on TV quite a bit, but the realities of dealing with a life threatening confrontation in the street, in the dark with just moments, seconds, less than seconds to react to a deadly threat makes that not only impractical but simply unreasonable."

As for their training on situations like the one Wednesday night, they say they are taught to end the threat as reliably as possible.   That means aiming for the biggest target, the torso, the center of body mass.

As of late afternoon Thursday, police had not released a identification on the man.  They were still trying to notify his family.

They will test for drugs and alcohol as part of the autopsy.

As is standard procedure, officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave while the shooting is under review.