Society

Arizona Police Allegedly Kill Man For Reaching Toward His Lower Back

| by Michael Allen

An unidentified man was shot and killed at a hotel in Mesa, Arizona, by a police officer on Jan. 17 after allegedly reaching towards his lower back.

Detective Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman, said officers were responding to a call about a man pointing a gun out of a hotel room window, The Arizona Republic reports.

According to Berry, the cops found a man and a woman in the room, ordered them out, detained the woman and then attempted to detain the man, who allegedly refused to cooperate and reached behind his back multiple times.

"Based on the initial report of the [male] suspect having a gun, not complying with commands and reaching behind his body, the officer felt threatened and discharged his weapon, striking the suspect," Berry said in a statement.

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Berry added that a gun was found on the scene but didn't specify where it was found.

A woman named Laney Sweet claimed the man was her late husband, Daniel, in a Jan. 20 Facebook post.

Laney explained that Daniel would service pest-removal stores and travel with two company pellet guns. Because the pellet guns are expensive, Daniel would take them into his hotel room.

Daniel had dinner with a man and a woman at a local restaurant on Jan. 18 and then they all returned to his hotel room, according to Laney, who recalled speaking to her husband that evening.

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Laney was not sure whether her husband held the pellet gun or the other man did, but the other man went to a gas station right around the time when other guests at the hotel called the police.

Laney said three police officers showed up at Daniel's room, and ordered him and the woman out.

"We were told that Daniel was not aggressive but that he failed to listen when instructing to NOT put his hands behind his back," Laney wrote. "Due to him putting his hands behind his back, the Mesa, AZ police department took forceful action and shot him. Daniel passed away in the hallway of his hotel, unarmed. His two pellet guns were in and next to his case near the window."

Laney said no one had contacted her after 48 hours, and she grew concerned when she had not heard from Daniel and he did not show up for work. She called several hospitals, jails and police stations, but didn't find out her husband was dead until she spoke to the local coroner.

"No one had the respect or empathy to call me and our children and tell us that Daniel had been taken from us," Laney wrote.

She created a GoFundMe page to pay for her husband's cremation and memorial service, for a lawyer to look into the incident, and for the travel costs of visiting Daniel's family.

In addition to Laney, Daniel leaves behind two daughters.

Sources: The Arizona Republic, Facebook (2), GoFundMe / Photo Credit: Laney Sweet/Facebook