(MESA, Ariz.) — A judge has released portions of a former police officer’s heavily redacted body-camera footage showing the moments leading up to a deadly police-involved shooting at a Mesa, Arizona, hotel.
Daniel Shaver, a 26-year-old father of two, was staying at the La Quinta Inn & Suites in January on a work trip from Texas.
A 911 call was made claiming a gun was being pointed out the window of a hotel room, according to court records. Police say they found two pellet guns, which he used for his pest-control job, inside the room after Shaver had been killed.
The footage begins with a police officer telling the occupants of room 502 to listen to his instructions or it was going to “become very uncomfortable.”
Police asked for any female occupants to step out, then shouted several times for Shaver to come out. The officers, surveying the scene from the hallway, discussed whether to call Shaver’s room from a lobby phone or access the room with a key card.
Shaver then comes out of the room unarmed, following officers’ commands to crawl toward them, according to the incident report. Shaver begged the armed officers not to shoot him, the report says.
Officer Philip Brailsford fired his gun five times, killing the father of two.
The body-cam video resumes with another officer’s escorting a female out of the hallway and outside to the front of the hotel, trying to keep her calm.
Brailsford later told investigators that he thought Shaver was reaching for a weapon. “I perceived this as a threat. It was just a scary situation,” Brailsford told ABC Phoenix affiliate KNXV.
But the investigation report indicating Shaver’s motion was “consistent with attempting to pull his shorts up as they were falling off,” additionally noting, “No other purposes for this movement appear to be viable.”
Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, said of the incident, “He was executed. He was begging for his life. Saying please don’t shoot me.”
The former Mesa police officer is now awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges.
Mike Piccarreta, Brailsford’s attorney, released a statement, saying, “This is a sad and unfortunate situation. Officer Brailsford followed his training and all procedures.”
He added, “When you’re dealing with an individual who is potentially armed and they reach into a known position where weapons are located you are obligated to defend yourself and the other officers. There was no animosity, no bad feelings against the deceased.”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers redacted a large portion of the footage, including the moment where Shaver is killed, to respect Brailsford’s right to a fair trial, saying it might prejudice potential jurors.
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