The FBI is investigating a fatal police shooting in Phoenix that left a 28-year-old dead on July 4 and reignited local.
Officers were called to a home after receiving a 911 call that a suspect in a previous stabbing case was nearby. CBS affiliate KPHO-TV reports that when police arrived, they found James Porter Garcia inside a car in the driveway.
According to police, Garcia was holding a gun and telling officers to shoot him before pointing the weapon at them.
“Officers talked to the man for approximately 10 minutes, asking him to leave his car so they could secure the scene. He refused and eventually rolled up the windows and pulled out a gun,” reads a statement issued by the department. “Officers ordered the man to drop the gun but he refused. The man repeatedly told officers to shoot him and lifted the gun toward officers. That’s when two officers fired their weapons.”
Phoenix police have released body-worn camera footage from the time after shots were fired. According to its statement, the footage leading up to the shooting will be released once the investigation has advanced.
“The investigation into this shooting is still in the early stages,” reads the statement. “Releasing body-worn camera (BWC) footage from the officers directly involved before all witness and officer interviews are completed could compromise the investigation.”
The released video — from the body camera of an officer who was not involved in the shooting — shows him approach the car as it is surrounded by at least four other officers. The officer puts on gloves before retrieving a gun from the driver’s side window. Both windows on the drivers side of the vehicle are shattered.
According to the police statement released on July 6, once the investigation is complete it will be submitted to the County Attorney’s office for review.
Chief Jeri Williams released a statement the next day announcing that she asked the FBI to conduct “an independent civil rights review” into the incident. “While I’m confident in the investigative work done by my team, I recognize the value of an unbiased outside agency in strengthening the public trust into an investigation,” she wrote.
Williams also noted the “wide-spread attention within our community and across the country” on the case in her announcement.
Dozens in Phoenix held vigil and marched for Garcia in the days after the shooting, KPHO-TV reports. Protesters said they hope to see the full footage of the incident soon.
Richard Mendez, a friend of Garcia’s, told KPHO he doesn’t know what exactly happened, but wants the full story to come out for his friend’s children. “The truth, for his kids and for his family. At least so they can have peace of mind,” he said.
Three separate investigations will look into the incident, according to Williams. “The Phoenix Police Department Professional Standards Bureau will conduct an internal investigation, Homicide will conduct a criminal investigation and the FBI will conduct their independent civil rights investigation,” she wrote.
“I am taking this step in the best interest of my employees, my department, and the city. I recognize this is a time of community distrust. I hope this step will allow our community to feel confident in the findings.”