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Video: Man charges Ariz. officers with sword before fatal OIS

The man, who had allegedly been waving the sword and screaming before the officers arrived, told Pima County Sheriff’s Office deputies he was “trying to achieve greatness on the katana”

By Erika Wurst
The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. — Newly released video shows the confrontation between a man who told deputies he was practicing his sword skills outside his Tucson motel room moments before he moved toward one of the officers and was fatally shot.

Body camera footage released by the Pima Regional Critical Incident Team shows Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Ramon Morales, and another deputy arrive at the motel near South Palo Verde and East Irvington roads about 10 p.m. Feb. 24, after a worker called 911 to say guests were complaining about a man yelling and using a sword in the parking lot.

The deputies were talking to Devon Lewis, 23, who was carrying a large, sheathed Japanese styled sword called a katana. The body cam footage shows Lewis engage in conversation with the two deputies as they attempt to gauge the situation.

“I’m trying to achieve greatness on the katana, is that illegal in the United States?” Lewis can be heard asking the deputies. The conversation continues for a short time before Lewis unsheathes the sword and charges at one of the deputies with the blade raised up, the video shows.

Deputy Morales fires his gun, and Lewis falls to the ground, the video shows. The deputies started life-saving measures immediately after the shooting, but Lewis died at the scene.

Amid the threat posed by a man armed with a Katana, officers demonstrate exceptional de-escalation skills

The PRCIT, compromised of various law enforcement agencies, investigates local officer-involved shootings. The Tucson Police Department has been assigned primary responsibility for investigating the shooting of Lewis. The Sheriff’s Department is conducting a separate probe to make sure department policy was followed.

The investigation continues. Findings will be presented to the Pima County Attorney’s Office , which is standard practice.


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