A gunman opened fire at on-duty paramedics and firefighters on Sunday afternoon, sparking a chain of shootings that ended in a gunfight with Tucson police.
After shooting two EMTs in a nearby park Leslie Scarlett, 35, went to a burning house in the 2100 block of East Irene Vista, where he killed one neighbor, wounded another in the head, and shot a fireman in the arm, according to authorities. Before confronting Officer Danny Leon in a shootout, Scarlett crashed his SUV into a Tucson Police Department car, KOLD reported.
After being shot during the gunfight, Scarlett was in a severe condition, according to authorities.
Officer Leon’s actions “were heroic and likely saved lives,” Mayor Regina Romero remarked during a press conference. “Despite having gunshots fired right at him, demonstrated incredible composure and bravery in neutralizing the threat.”
According to KOLD-TV, Scarlett reportedly began firing at EMT employees in a medical transport ambulance responding to a call at a community center while Tucson firemen were sent to a nearby burning house around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, July 18.
A 20-year-old man, one of the EMTs, was shot in the head and was critically injured. Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said that he was “fighting for his life in an ICU.” A 21-year-old woman, another victim, was in stable situation after being shot in the arm and chest as of Monday, July 19, KSAZ -TV reported.
Scarlett supposedly jumped into an SUV and drove to the house fire after the initial gunshot incident. According to Fox News, he arrived and shot “multiple rounds” at Tucson Fire Department workers and bystanders who were aiding with the blaze.
Corey Michael Saunders, a 44-year-old neighbor, was shot in the head and died at the scene. A bullet also hit a fire commander in the arm. Chief Chuck Ryan of the Tucson Fire Department told KOLD that the fireman later recovered.
“After further investigation, an unknown individual was discovered to be dead inside the home involved in the structure fire.” The corpse was too extensively charred for authorities to tell if it was a male or a female, according to KVOA.
A tragic house fire that occurred opposite Sunday’s house fire and mass shooting will be investigated. Two persons perished in that blaze, including the supposed shooter’s mother.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, who spoke during a press conference Monday afternoon said that Scarlet has a criminal past as well as a background of “mental health concerns.”
Scarlett was not allowed to carry a firearm while serving a six-year sentence for planned armed crime and authorities had no idea how he got the rifle. According to the police chief, no details regarding the pistol he used has been released yet.
Scarlett was detained on accusations of severe assault with a fatal weapon abduction, armed and aggravated robbery in Jan. 2006.
In May 2016, Judge Richard Fields denied Scarlett’s request to restore his firearm rights, according to court documents.
Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona, and the 33rd-largest in the United States, with a population of over half a million people. The campaign to “Defund the Police Department” is gaining traction in several large American communities, according to Tucson.com, the website of the Arizona Daily Star. Increasing attacks on police officers who are just trying to carry out their duties has likely been resulted from this mindset.