Report Finds DPS Shooting of Alexander Wilson Justified, But Witness Says Officer Was Not In Danger
Phoenix PD released a report that rules the shooting death of 16-year-old Alexander Wilson by a still unnamed DPS officer was justifiable.
The police report states that the officer feared for his life when Wilson tried to flee in an SUV and was therefore justified in the shooting. But the report also reveals a man police interviewed who says the DPS officer was not in the line of harm, appeared to have confidently and assertively approached the vehicle, fired before the SUV moved, and even says that after the shooting he over heard the officer telling another cop that the suspect "had pulled out a gun on me."
The shooting has stirred some in the community to call it an act of an officer abusing his authority, or even racial profiling, and the family has retained a lawyer.
On Sunday, April 7, around 930 p.m. near 27th Avenue and Camelback road, a DPS officer ran the license of a tan Chevrolet Tahoe and the plates came back stolen. The officer followed Wilson and his passenger, 18-year-old Will Brown, to 35th Avenue and Camelback Road. The officer tailed the car into a Chevron, parking about five feet behind the SUV.
Wilson had a warrant out for his arrest because he had missed a probation meeting, concerning a prior robbery, where he faked he had a gun under his shirt and stole a car and a man's wallet and phone. the surviving passenger, Brown, later told police he didn't know the car was stolen and they were borrowing the SUV from a friend who said he had just bought it.
The DPS officer could not have know this, and he also could have only speculated as to who was in the car, or if they were armed. The officer knew they weren't getting gas because the gas nozzle was on the other side, facing away from the pump, and he could make out that there were two Black males in the front. The officer had not put on his sirens or his lights, not even the spotlight on top.
Even so, he sprang from his car with his AR15 rifle and headed toward the SUV.
Twenty-three-year-old Refugio Rodriguez had run out of gas and was walking toward the station, gas can in hand. He saw a Tahoe pull into the station, and later a DPS car. The two cars were maybe a little more than 10 feet away from where he stood.
"Put up your hands!" Rodriguez told police he heard the DPS officer scream.
The officer held his rifle out and moved past a blue clothes recycling bin, up over a curb and within a foot of the Tahoe with his rifle steadied, a flashlight on the rifle's end beaming into the driver side window of the SUV.
|The Chevron and blue donation box near where the DPS officer shot Wilson.|