Officers Cleared in May 23rd, 2016 Shooting

October 2nd, 2016 at 9:15 AM

On Monday, May 23, 2016 at approximately 7:48 AM Officers from Flagstaff Police Department and Northern Arizona University responded to report of an armed suspect at 201 W. Butler inside the High Country Conference Center. Officers located and contacted the suspect ordering him to drop his weapon. The suspect refused to comply with the requests and threatened police with his 9MM handgun.

Officers continued to make attempts to apprehend the subject. The suspect behaved dangerously firing his weapon in a residential neighborhood and attempting to “car jack” a victim’s vehicle just north of the intersection of Park Street and Tucson Ave. Two officers, one from Flagstaff Police Department and one from Northern Arizona University Police Department, fired at the suspect when he again pointed his gun at the officers.

Investigators identified the suspect as Verl Bedonie of Kaibato, Arizona. Local investigators learned that Mr. Bedonie has had a number of contacts with law enforcement on the Navajo Reservation. He also had an arrest warrant from Maricopa County for failing to appear in court at the time of this incident.  It was discovered during subsequent investigation that on the same day as the shooting, Mr. Bedonie stole the firearm and a vehicle from a family he was working for in Kaibato. The vehicle was located on the Campus of Northern Arizona University on May 24, 2016, in a parking garage at the High Country Conference Center.

This incident was investigated by the Multi-Agency Shoot Team and submitted to Coconino County Attorney’s Office for review. Coconino County Attorney’s Office determined there may be a conflict and requested that the Navajo County Attorney’s Office Review the case. Navajo County Attorney’s Office reviewed the incident and declined to pursue charges against any officers involved in this case. The letter of decline states that “it is the County Attorney’s role, to determine whether any violation of the Arizona criminal law may have occurred. The same standard for charging decisions used in all criminal cases is applied to the review of an officer involved shooting incident. The actions of Flagstaff Police Officers Sgt. Collin Seay, Cpl. Benjamin Sandoval, Officer Eric Tomperi and Northern Arizona University Police Officer Dillon Jenkins’ actions “were legally justified under Arizona Law”.

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