Arizona police released a video Wednesday that showed a man throwing a wrench at deputies before they shot him to death while responding to a call from family members concerned for the man’s mental health on Friday.
Juan Torres, 39, could be seen wielding a wrench in one hand and a hammer in another in a body camera video released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers, who were called to the home by the man’s sister, told him to drop his weapons before Torres threw a wrench at one of them. Officers then open fired at Torres who was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone defended the actions of his officers who he said were forced to deploy deadly force when Torres escalated the situation. Penzone refuted claims that officers could have used tasers instead of drawing their guns.
“What you don’t want is one of the deputies actually leaving their partners behind knowing that an escalation and the likelihood of an engagement is high,” Penzone said.
Torres’ sister, Irma, said the family called 911 so that officers could take their brother to an institution to be evaluated for his mental health issues. The family claims deputies could have used other methods to stop Torres and plans to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, CBS 5 reported.
“I just wish the sheriff’s department, and all police, get more training in situations like this to help people instead of going to this extreme,” Rick Torres, Juan Torres’ father, told CBS 5. “It just shouldn’t have happened, plain and simple, overkill, too much. My son didn’t have to die like that.”
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