Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
Body-worn camera video released by the Tucson Police Department shows SWAT team officers killing an armed suspect after the man pulled a gun on officers and put it to the head of the K-9 that brought him down.
According to Tucson.com, the SWAT officers had the suspect, Francisco Javier Galarza, 49, under surveillance Aug. 25 at a Circle K convenience store, planning to arrest him on felony warrants for home invasion and bank robbery.
As Galarza exited the store and walked across the parking area, police intercepted him, identifying themselves and ordering him to the ground.
The officers yelled, “Police! Get down!” in the video footage. Instead, Galarza ran.
As the suspect fled on foot, he reached into a bag and produced a Taurus G3 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Tucson Police officer Barrie Pedersen ordered his K-9 partner Kiro to bring Galarza down, according to the report.
The police dog brought Galarza to the ground within seconds. The video shows the suspect pointing his gun first at the human officers and then bringing the muzzle to the head of the K-9.
The encounter then ended swiftly, as Pedersen and Officer Ernest Ortiz fired five shots from their service rifles, striking the suspect. Galarza was pronounced dead at the scene, despite officers’ efforts to provide first aid, according to the Tucson PD.
When officers later retrieved the suspect’s weapon, they found the magazine loaded, with a round in the chamber, according to the TPD video.
The Tucson Police Department’s K-9 unit released the video of the incident on Facebook.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic violence that some viewers will find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department and Marana Police Department handling a criminal investigation “to see if criminal violations occurred” during the encounter and the Tucson Police Department Office of Professional Standards will conduct a parallel internal investigation of the officers’ actions, Tucson Police K9 reported on the Facebook video.
Once the investigation is complete, the Pima Regional Critical Incident Team will present the results to the Pima County Attorney’s Office for review.
According to KOLD-TV, records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show that Galarza had a lengthy and serious criminal history. They reported that in 1992 he was sentenced to three years in prison “as part of the shock incarceration program.”
In 1994, he was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to four years in prison. In 2000, he was convicted of vehicle theft and was sentenced to another 18 months in prison and a year later, he was convicted on six counts of armed robbery, receiving an 11-year sentence, according to KOLD.
In 2011 after his release, the report said, Galarza was again convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to another seven and a half years.
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