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Officer involved shooting in La Plaza Vieja

A screen grab from the video from one of the body cameras used by officers at the shooting in La Plaza Vieja.

Flagstaff Police have released the police camera footage from five officers at the shooting in Plaza Vieja on Feb. 9. The footage does not show the suspect clearly, and the suspect's body on the ground is blacked out immediately after shots are fired. But the shots fired by the officers can be heard as can their instructions to the suspect and comments in the aftermath of the shooting as they search for the gun, which was found in the bed of the suspect's nearby pickup truck.  

According to reports released by the department, officers responded to a call from a woman about a man with a gun at an apartment complex on West Coconino Avenue just before 9 p.m. Feb. 9. The woman said the man, identified as John K. Hammelton, 78, had accused her of taking the keys to his vehicle several days before. He came to her apartment again on Feb. 9 and asked for his keys and displayed a small silver handgun.

The woman locked the door and called the police while Hammelton continued to ring her doorbell. 

In the first video, Officer Daniel Beckwith, one of the first officers on the scene, repeatedly asks Hammelton to drop the gun, put his hands in the air and not swing the gun around. He warns two other officers who are moving around the building to outflank Hammelton, that Hammelton may be waving the gun in their direction.

"I can't see what's in his right hand. It's something silver I can't make it out," Beckwith says in the video.

Officer Michael Worley replies, "He's putting it in his right pocket. That is definitely a gun."

According to Worley's report, Hammelton later pulled the gun from his pocket and waved it at two officers who had run around the back side of the apartment complex in an effort to outflank him.

Beckwith continues to call for Hammelton to drop the weapon.

"(expletive)I'm going to have to fire," Beckwith says. "It is definitely a gun. He is swinging it around. I have a clear shot. He has the gun in his hand. He will not drop it."

According to Worley's report, Hammelton waved the gun toward the two officers on South Sycamore at least three times.

"If you bring that up one more time, I will shoot you, drop it," Beckwith warns Hammelton.

When Hammelton doesn't respond and pointed the gun at the officers on South Sycamore Street,  Beckwith shot him.

In the second and third videos, Ofcs. Travis Rowden and Devin Hineman move around the far side of the building in order to cover Hammelton. The two officers are able to see Hammelton and set up behind a series of dumpsters.

"We have to taze him or something." Rowden says.

To which Hineman responds,"Hey, you want to try and taze him. Hold on."

A few seconds later, shots ring out.

After the shooting, Hineman tells another officer that he saw Hammelton wave a gun in his direction and tell the officers "Leave me alone."

Right after the shooting the officers can be heard on several videos asking where the gun is. The gun was eventually located in the back of the pickup truck next to where Hammelton had been standing.

According to a police report, one of the neighbors said she peeked out her door during the incident and saw Hammelton standing next to his truck with the gun dangling from his finger. Another neighbor reported that he saw Hammelton holding the gun in his hand.

Another neighbor, Erik Rothrock, told police that he believed Hammelton was suffering from dementia. He said Hammelton had accused him of taking his keys as well.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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