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Potentially deadly SWAT standoff ends with PepperBall arrest, dog bite

A Tucson police SWAT standoff between about 80 police personnel and a Tucson man holed up in a midtown home containing weapons could have easily turned deadly.

Tucson police dog with officer/file photo

It instead ended with minor injuries and an arrest of the suspect, according to a Tucson Police news release.

Suspect Ronald Zimmer, 55, faces charges of second-degree burglary, criminal damage and weapons misconduct, all of which are felonies. He also suffered a small laceration to the head and a bite from a police canine.

Good dog.

The two-hour ordeal began when a 50-year-old woman called police around 2 a.m. Oct. 2 from the Bashful Bandit bar, at East Speedway and North Dodge boulevards, to report her boyfriend had just assaulted her and was now on his way to her nearby home at Third Street and Dodge.

Police were at the Bashful Bandit within five minutes of the call, noted the woman had minor injuries from the reported assault, and learned the woman’s 20-year-old son was home alone.

Zimmer also knew where the woman kept her weapons.

While police were taking her report, Zimmer was allegedly busy forcing his way into her townhouse in the 3700 block of East Third Street and grabbing at least one gun.

The woman’s son fled from the house with no injuries.

Police arrived at the townhouse to find Zimmer standing in the driveway with a rifle, which he shot into the air before returning to the house and barricading himself inside.

The negotiations began.

Officers on the scene as well as an on-duty Hostage Negotiations Unit member from another patrol division tried to negotiate with Zimmer on the phone and through a public address system.

No go.

Rather than respond to negotiations, Zimmer instead reportedly fired several shots inside the house.

By this time a K9 team and SWAT personnel were also on the scene and a call went out for addition SWAT members.

Before more members arrived, Zimmer suddenly came out of the house with a handgun pointed at his head.

“Several minutes of tense standoff ensued until the officers were able to convince the suspect to set the gun down briefly,” the release noted.

Police then unleashed PepperBall “less-lethal munitions” and a K9 to stop Zimmer from grabbing back the gun.

Zimmer was taken to the hospital to treat his injuries, with his hospital stay followed by a booking into Pima County Jail.


What do you think?

Have you seen other SWAT standoffs in action? What was the outcome?

Have you ever been hit with a PepperBall?

Have you ever used non-lethal weapons to defend yourself?

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Taser to blame for death, angry grandma

Tasers, which happen to come in leopard print and hot pink, can be a very useful weapon that serves to quell without killing – usually.

Boring old black taser
Boring old black taser

Sometimes the suppression method can freakishly backfire and lead to death.

Other times the taser can be abused, misused or over-used and lead to death.

In still other instances, the taser can be used properly and according to procedure but still cause a stink because the victim happens to be somebody’s grandma.

If someone is mouthing off, resisting arrest and refusing to comply with the officer’s wishes, a zap with a taser seems like a reasonable answer. Even if the victim is somebody’s grandma.

Such was the case of a 72-year-old woman in Texas who claimed she was tasered for no reason. Then the dashcam video came out.

It shows her swearing, arguing and being a tad less than cooperative.

Why anyone would argue with Texas law enforcement is beyond me. They have too much to prove and definitely fall into the “just-say-yes-and-do-whatever-they-say” category.

In Tucson, a taser death in April was just ruled a homicide by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Gary Decker, 50, died in a motel after he lunged naked at officers who were called to the scene.

Original Day of the Dead post: Died after attacking police: Gary A. Decker, 50
Gary A. Decker, 50, died after he attacked police and was shocked with a Taser in the early morning hours of April 16. He died later that day in the hospital, a Tucson police spokesman said.

Decker, from Kentucky, was residing at the Extended Stay America at 5050 E. Grant Road, while working a temporary job as a furniture liquidator

Motel management reported hearing noises, music, banging and moaning coming from the upstairs room.

Officers entered the room with a passkey and found the room ransacked and furniture broken, (Sgt. Mark) Robinson said. Decker was in the bathroom, clutching a toilet seat he had ripped off the unit.

Decker grabbed one of the officers, Robinson said, and the officer shocked him with a Taser. The Taser appeared to have no effect on him.

Officers handcuffed Decker, got him out of the bathroom and called paramedics, which is standard practice when someone a Taser is used.

Decker became unresponsive, Robinson said, and was unconscious when paramedics arrived.

If someone is in a rage, ripping toilet seats off the basin and lunging naked at police, a taser may be just the thing to calm the guy down. It was later determined he had also been high on cocaine, which just adds to irrationality.

But was the taser overused?

According to the Arizona Daily Star:
Gary A. Decker, 50, died from a combination of cocaine intoxication, multiple blunt force injuries and being restrained after he assaulted three police officers (according to the medical examiner’s autopsy report)….

The Tucson Police Department is still investigating the case and has forwarded it to the Pima County Attorney’s Office for review. Neither agency would comment Wednesday on the incident.

According to the autopsy report, Decker suffered two puncture wounds to his chest and additional wounds to his right hip when he was Tasered.

He also received numerous rib fractures, the report states.

Decker had cuts and bruises all over his body, including his head, neck, abdomen, shoulders and arms, the report states.

Jan. 2004: Brian Sewell's neck shows the effect of being shocked three times with 50,000 volts of electricity by a sheriff's deputy to secure Sewell's compliance for a blood draw in a DUI case.
TASER WOUND EXAMPLE - Jan. 2004: Brian Sewell's neck shows the effect of being shocked three times with 50,000 volts of electricity by a sheriff's deputy to secure Sewell's compliance for a blood draw in a DUI case.

How many tasers blasts did the guy get? Or were the broken ribs and other injuries from Decker throwing himself against the wall or toilet or some other cause?

Still too many questions that need answers, but the fact is clear: tasers can kill.

The smart thing would be not to get into a situation where you may have the opportunity to get zapped by one. The other smart thing would be to opt for the leopard print over hot pink.

What do you think? Are tasers too dangerous, especially to be readily available to the general public?