PHOENIX — An Arizona police officer who fatally shot a man holding a baby had been involved in six previous shootings since 2002, including five that were fatal, authorities said yesterday.
Scottsdale police Officer James Peters was one of several officers called to a home Tuesday after neighbors reported a man holding a baby was threatening them with a handgun, Chief Alan Rodbell said.
Peters is a 12-year veteran of the police force who has served on its SWAT team. In three of his previous six shootings, other officers also fired at suspects.
A list compiled by The Arizona Republic shows Peters’s first shooting was in 2002, when he was one of three SWAT officers who shot and wounded a domestic violence suspect after a standoff. Between 2003 and 2010, he was involved in five fatal shootings.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office investigated his previous shootings and ruled them justifiable, Rodbell said.
Sergeant Mark Clark, a police spokesman, said investigators were looking into what led police to shoot James Loxas, 50, on Tuesday and why officers felt threatened or believed he was a threat to the child.
Police said Loxas went back in his house after allegedly threatening the neighbors, then opened the door with his 9-month-old grandson in his arms but wouldn’t come out.
Several officers called for him to come outside, but Loxas refused, Rodbell said. Peters shot Loxas in the head with a scope-equipped rifle from about 15 yards away when he reached inside the house. Loxas fell with the baby in his arms. The baby was unhurt.
Police said a loaded handgun was tucked into the side of a chair a few feet inside the door.