An Arizona police officer who rammed his patrol car into an armed suspect during a tense situation in Marana in February told investigators he had no choice, according to police inquiry recordings released by the department.KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, ArizonaMarana Police Officer Michael Rapiejko:
“He’s refused commands, he’s holding what I believe to be a locked and loaded rifle, based on the transmission that he’s fired a round into the air, there’s occupied businesses, there’s two other officers at the end of the street,” Marana Police Officer Michael Rapiejko said of the unorthodox tactic he used on Feb. 19. “This is what I deem at this point to be a lethal force encounter.”
“I have two thoughts that go in my mind, I need to shoot him to stop the threat or I need to run him over to stop the threat,” Rapiejko says in the recording. The recording was obtained by NBC station KVOA.
Rapiejko slammed his patrol car into Mario Valencia after Valencia allegedly fired a shot from a rifle into the air and was walking towards other officers and a business in Marana, a town of about 38,000 northwest of Tucson, on Feb. 19.
Marana’s police chief has gone on record defending Officer Rapiejko’s actions.
The County Attorney’s office is not pressing criminal charges, but Rapiejko could still face a lawsuit from the man he hit.
Dashcam footage from the February incident: