Arizona police released a dash cam video showing a Marana officer running over armed suspect Mario Valencia, who was on allegedly on a crime spree on Feb. 19.
In the footage, Valencia can be seen firing a shot in the air from a rifle he allegedly stole from a Walmart earlier that day, while walking away from the patrol car.
"Oh Jesus Christ. Man down," an officer can be heard yelling in the background.
Lt. Tim Brunenkant with the Marana Police Department told Q13Fox News that Rapiejko used his vehicle “to stop the dangerous situation Mario Valencia created,” adding, before the encounter, “the suspect had pointed the rifle at his head multiple times and threatened suicide before fleeing.”
After releasing the video, Marana police officials defended Rapiejko’s actions, suggesting he likely prevented Valencia from killing himself or shooting anyone else.
“If we’re going to choose between maybe we’ll let him go a little bit further and see what happens, or we’re going to take him out now and eliminate any opportunity he has to hurt somebody, you’re going to err on the side of, in favor of, the innocent people,” Police Chief Terry Rozema said. “Without a doubt.”
Valencia’s lawyer, however, contradicts, saying the video shows excessive use of force by the officer.
“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” said attorney Michelle Cohen-Metzger.
According to CNN, the suspect – 36-year-old Valencia – was allegedly involved in a string of crimes earlier that day, including robbery, setting a fire at a church, breaking and entering a home, stealing a car and later on .30-30 rifle and ammunition from Walmart.
After being run down, Valencia was taken to University of Arizona Medical Center where he stayed for two days before he was taken to prison, according to KOLD.