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32-year-old man fatally shot after trading gunfire with TPD officers

32-year-old man fatally shot after trading gunfire with TPD officers

First details released about deadly incident 9 days ago

  • Paul Ingram/

A 32-year-old man was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with Tucson Police Department officers following a robbery at an East Side store on April 3, authorities said.

On Tuesday, the Pima Regional Critical Incident Team announced that Joshua King was fatally shot during a running gun battle involving three officers, including Sgt. Armando Olivas, a 19-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department, Officer Antonio Apodaca, an 8-year TPD veteran, and Officer Richard Valentine, who has been with TPD for a year.

The incident began around 11 a.m., when security at the Best Buy, 6025 E. Broadway, called 911 and told an operator that a man flashed a handgun, removing it from his waistband and holding it against his side as he left the store with stolen items. TPD officers from Operations Divisions East and Midtown responded to search for King based on a description from store employees, and told surrounding agencies including SunTran to alert them if they saw the armed man.

Around 11:45 a.m., a SunTran driver saw a man matching King's description at the intersection of Kolb Rd. and Broadway, and alerted officers. TPD officers spotted King near Broadway and Prudence Road pointing his handgun "indiscriminately," law enforcement said.

One TPD officer told King to drop his gun, "however he did not," said PRCIT. Officials did not make clear which officer arrived first, but said that he fired his department-issued handgun at King. Other officers arrived at the scene, including Olivas, who also fired his weapon at King. However, King managed to flee, running between two business, only to return and fire his gun at the officer and sergeant.

King then fled behind a CVS Pharmacy, and fired at a bystander, officials said. He continued until he was confronted by a third officer. King and the officer "exchanged gunfire" and King was struck, said PRCIT officials.

TPD officers treated King for his wounds until medics with the Tucson Fire Department arrived. King was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

Officials said that King's next of kin were told about his death.

Hours after the incident, a TPD spokesman announced the shooting on Twitter, writing that King had sustained "life-threatening injuries" after exchanging gunfire with TPD officers. The department has not issued any statements about the shooting, other than the spokesman's tweets. The news release from PRCIT provides the first details made public about the shooting death nine days ago.

This incident was captured by the officers’ body-worn cameras, as well as surveillance and witness videos, said PRCIT officials. That video has not yet been released to the public.

Officials added that they are asking the public to contact the Pima County Sheriff's Department at 520-351-4900 if they have information and videos of the incident. 

Since its inception in March, the newly formed Pima County Regional Critical Incident Team has dealt with two other shootings involving police in Pima County.

Two weeks ago, a Tucson Police Department officer killed 27-year-old Eric Putnam during an incident on Tucson's East-Side after he aimed a gun first at himself, and then at Steven Clark, a lead officer and a five-year veteran of TPD.

Meanwhile, TPD has been tasked with investigating an incident that occurred on March 12, when a Pima County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a 17-year-old Sudanese boy after he attacked a fellow deputy, stabbing him repeatedly with a pair of culinary scissors.

PRCIT includes around 60 investigators from nine police departments in the county, including PCSD, Tucson Police Department, Oro Valley Police Department, Marana Police Department, Pasqua Yaqui Police Department, Sahuarita Police Department, South Tucson Police Department, the University of Arizona Police Department and the Pima Community College Police Department.

PRCIT has been tasked to investigate major incidents, including shootings, untimely deaths, and anything "that requires law enforcement to be a little bit more transparent with our community," Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos said. Officials said that the new organization will add "transparency" to the process of investigations, and will ask officials from a separate agency to investigate incidents.

As part of the PRCIT, the Pima County Sheriff's Department will review this latest incident, officials said. Meanwhile, TPD said its own Office of Professional Standards will  conduct a "separate, but parallel, administrative investigation to examine" their officer's actions.

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