[Warning: Video is graphic.]
A man who allegedly went on a shooting spree on Sunday has been identified by police as Leslie Scarlett, 35. He opened fire at EMTs, firefighters, bystanders, and officers as a house burned down with a dead body inside, according to law enforcement in Tucson, Arizona. Body cam footage shows one of their officers shooting Scarlett in self-defense, cops said.
“Yesterday, we saw a nightmare scenario play out with near simultaneous events at separate but nearby locations,” said Police Chief Chris Magnus in a press conference on Monday. “This created a level of chaos that made the situation extremely challenging.”
Officers described two scenes about a mile apart. The first occurred in the 2100 block of E. Irene Vista, police said. The Tucson Fire Department got a call at 3:46 p.m. on Sunday regarding a house fire there.
Just minutes later, about a mile north in the parking lot of Silverlake Park, Scarlett approached two EMTs who were on an unrelated fire department medical call, police said. According to officers, he pointed at the direction of the fire. The two EMTs looked in that direction, and Scarlett opened fire multiple times. He struck a 20-year-old male EMT in the head and a 22-year-old female EMT in the chest and arm, Magnus told reporters.
The female EMT managed to called for help and said the suspect (then unknown) fled in a gray SUV, according to authorities.
It was at 3:52 p.m. that firefighters arrived at the Irene Vista home, but there was a radio call of shots fired coming in their direction a minute later, police said. They discovered neighbor Cory Saunders, 44, shot dead in front of the residence, they said. According to Magnus, the man’s 11-year-old son witnessed the shooting.
Scarlett ended up shooting at firefighters, striking a captain in the arm, authorities said. He fled the scene in a SUV, police said. At 3:58 p.m., he rammed Officer Danny Leon‘s vehicle, according to the department. He got out of his SUV and opened fire. Leon shot back, striking Scarlett, police said.
As far as police are concerned, much remains unclear about why all this happened. Scarlett was prohibited from having guns because of a six-year prison sentence for armed robbery, Magnus said. (He served a six-year prison sentence for attempt to commit armed robbery, according to records from the Arizona Department of Corrections.) He had a history of mental issues, the chief said. He remains with life-threatening injuries at Banner University Medical Center, police said.
Three children had lived at the home, but they were found alive and are in the care of a family member, Magnus said. Their mother remains missing but is presumed dead, the chief said.
The fire was put out. Unidentified human remains were found in the home, Magnus said. Even the person’s sex remains unclear. The autopsy is pending.
The investigation remains ongoing, including on how the fire started.
The male EMT remains in life-threatening condition, Magnus said. His female colleague is in serious but stable condition.
[Screengrab and mugshot via Tuscon Police Department]
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