Multiple officers in Marana, Arizona responded to reports of a man stealing a rifle from Wal-Mart. Before the video begins, 36-year-old Mario Miranda Valencia threatened to shoot himself in the head after he was approached by the first officers on the scene. The suspect was later seen firing the weapon in the air before walking down the road toward a local business with the loaded rifle pressed below his chin. I have seen a lot of police interventions in a case when guns are involved, but this one is unique.
In an attempt to save Valencia’s life, Officer Michael Rapiejko drove over the sidewalk and knocked him off his feet.
The shocking footage was captured by the dash cam of multiple officers. Police Chief Terry Rozema told KOLD that his officer’s actions saved the man’s life. Valencia spent two days in the hospital before he was arrested and charged with shoplifting a firearm, discharging a firearm inside city limits, and aggravated assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon.
Some people criticized Officer Rapiejko’s course of action, but Sgt. Chris Warren defended his fellow officer saying “This was a dangerous felon who’d been on a crime spree throughout the morning. He’d just stolen a weapon, loaded it, was not obeying commands from officers and was walking toward occupied businesses. It’s a busy time of the morning, a lot of employees at work, a lot getting ready to come out for breaks, he’s walking toward those businesses. So we had to take immediate action and make sure he didn’t get inside those businesses.”