Arizona police have released a dash cam video that shows a police officer using his squad vehicle to run over a suspect of a crime spree. The incident, which began in Tucson and ended in Marana, occurred on 19 February.
The video shows suspect Mario Valencia walking down a street in Marana as an apparent gunshot is heard. Valencia was allegedly fleeing from the Walmart at 8280 N Cortaro Road where he reportedly stole a rifle. According to Marana police, the man was then run over by Officer Michael Rapiejko at 5650 W Coca Cola Place.
Police Chief Terry Rozema told reporters Rapiejko's decision probably saved Valencia's life. The man had previously been intercepted by police, but he used the rifle to threaten suicide before firing the gun in a different direction.
The dramatic video shows the moment Rapiejko rammed into Valencia, sending him flying in the air. Police officers in another police vehicle are heard saying, "Oh! Jesus Christ, man down." Moments afterwards, police officers are seen rushing the suspect with their guns drawn.
Tucson News Now reported that the suspect was taken to University of Arizona Medical Center in serious condition and was booked into jail two days later.
Police were investigating if Valencia was connected to three earlier crimes in Tucson. The crime spree began with a convenience store theft followed by a breaking and entering at the Tucson Baptist Temple. A home invasion and car theft on the 3900 block of East Paseo Dorado was also reported.