PHOENIX – Phoenix police have released bodycam footage of a fatal Fourth of July driveway shooting.
James Garcia, 28, was shot in a parked car in the driveway of a house after a confrontation with officers.
Police were looking for a suspect in a stabbing when they arrived at the house. Instead, they found Garcia sleeping in his car in the driveway with the engine running. The officers are heard asking if he is OK and for him to get out of the car.
When he doesn’t comply, a sergeant approaches, saying, “You are going to be removed from the vehicle if you don’t get out of the car. Do you understand that?”
Garcia rolled up his window, cutting off communication. He then removes his hands from the steering wheel and gets a gun.
You can’t hear Garcia, but he appears to mouth “shoot me.”
One of the four officers surrounding the car smashed a side window. Garcia jolted and lifted the gun. Two of the officers opened fire.
Here’s what those officers later told police investigators:
Officer Wilson: “He raised his gun up, and he saw me flinch over and look over. I was afraid that he was either going to shoot the officer who just broke the window and didn’t have a gun in his hand, or he’s going to lean over and shoot me.”
Officer Trevino: “At that point, when he broke the window, his movement completely changed. I see the rise of an arm, and then I’m not too sure who shot first me or my partner.”
Garcia can be seen moving slightly when the window breaks just before the shooting, but at no time does he lift the gun high enough to be in view of the officer’s body camera.
A few minutes after the shooting, the body cam video shows another officer pull the gun out of Garcia’s car.
A relative later told police Garcia has a drug problem and a warrant and didn’t want to go back to jail.
Phoenix police sped up their timeline to release video of the shooting, in part, because of family and community pressure to do so.
There are three active investigations into the shooting: A criminal investigation to determine if the officers’ actions were justified, an FBI civil rights review and a Phoenix Police Internal Affairs investigation.
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