A 28-year-old man, Joseph Martin, was shot and killed by police officers in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Surprise, Arizona, on Tuesday afternoon. The incident occurred near Grand Avenue and Bell Road around 12:20 p.m.
Upon responding to a call, the officers were informed by a Walmart employee that Martin was trespassing on the property and requested assistance in removing him. The police located Martin sitting in the backseat of a car with the door open and repeatedly asked him to leave the area. However, Martin refused to cooperate, becoming loud and belligerent.
The situation escalated when officers attempted to physically remove Martin from the car. Martin responded by yelling, “I have a gun,” and reached under a pile of personal items. Fearing for their safety, the officers opened fire, resulting in Martin’s death.
Jamie Rothschild, Public Information Officer for Surprise Police, explained that Martin’s verbal claim of having a gun, combined with his sudden movement towards his waistband, led to the officers’ decision to fire.
No officers were injured in the incident, and police have assured the community that there is no ongoing threat. The investigation is still ongoing, and it remains unclear what type of weapon, if any, Martin possessed.
This incident marks the 19th officer-involved shooting in Maricopa County and the 25th in Arizona this year.