On March 13, 2014, at about 1:45 p.m., Phoenix Police Officers responded to a home in the area of 2600 N. 51st Street. The first officer to arrive on the scene was a sergeant. He was met by the complainant who said his son, later identified as Raul Altimirano Suarez was acting erratic and he was worried. Suarez had jumped over the rear fence of their yard into the neighbor’s yard while naked. The man directed the sergeant to the bathroom, where Suarez was then in the shower.
The sergeant told Suarez, who had a crazed look in his eyes, to get out of the shower so that they could get him some help. Suarez got out of the shower and acted erratically. He reached for the sergeant’s gun and electronic control device (Taser), but the sergeant was able to swat his hand away. He said that he had taken heroin and some other drug that the sergeant could not understand.
The second officer arrived and both officers tried to take Suarez into custody. They attempted to handcuff him, but could only get one cuff on him, before he pulled away and began a fierce battle with the sergeant and the officer. Both were kicked and struck numerous times. The fight carried into a bedroom. He told them he was Satan and Jesus Christ and that he was going to kill them. He also said, you might as well shoot me now. Both the sergeant and the officer deployed their Tasers, but they had no effect on Suarez.
As the fight continued, the sergeant’s leg was injured. He was kicked backward into the bedroom door, closing it and it locked. Neither the electronic control devices nor any of the other compliances measures were effective against Suarez. The sergeant was backed into the corner of the room exhausted and injured, with Suarez continuing to advance towards him. Fearing further injury, the sergeant drew his weapon and fired one shot at Suarez, striking him and ending the fight. Suarez died at the scene. The sergeant was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released.
Through the course of the investigation, it was learned that Suarez was contacted by police yesterday in the yard of the residence to the rear of his house. He was naked, sweating profusely and acting strangely. The residents of that location did not want to prosecute. They only wanted him to leave. He told the officers he had been using drugs. Because no prosecution was desired and his problems appeared to have been drug related, he was returned home.
It was also learned that when Suarez had jumped over the wall into the neighbor’s property today, he broke a window with a shovel, trying to break into that house. He returned to his home, before his father called the police to his home.
As in all officer involved shootings, this case is being investigated both criminally and internally. In addition, the sergeant involved will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Date and Time: 03-13-14, approximately 1342 hours
Locations: 2600 N. 51st Street
1. Phoenix Police Sergeant
21 years with the Phoenix Police Department
Injuries: Contusions on leg, knee and elbow from being kicked and struck
2. Phoenix Police Officer
16 years with the Phoenix Police Department
Injuries: Soreness about her body from being kicked and struck
Suspect: Raul Altimirano Suarez Jr.
Sergeant Tommy Thompson
Phoenix Police Department
Public Affairs Bureau