Arizona police released a video Wednesday that showed a man throwing a wrench at deputies before they shot him to death while answering a call from family members concerned for the man’s mental health on Friday.
Juan Torres, 39, could be seen and used a key in one hand and a hammer in the other in a body camera video released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers who were called to the house of the husband of his sister told him to drop his weapons before Torres threw a key at one of them. Officers then fired at Torres, who was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries.
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Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone defended the actions of his officers who he said were forced to deploy deadly force if 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 representatives to actually leave their partners behind the science that escalation and the potential for engagement is high,” Penzone said.
Torres’ sister, Irma, said the family called 911, so the police officers were taking their brother to an institution to be evaluated for his mental problems. The family claims deputies would have used other methods to stop Torres and plans to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, CBS 5 reported.
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“I wish the sheriff’s department, and all police, to get more training in these situations to help people instead of going to this extreme,” Rick Torres, Juan Torres’ father, said CBS 5. “It would not have happened, plain and simple, overkill, too much. My son didn’t have to die.”