An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper is recovering after he was involved in a scuffle that ended with him shooting and killing a 25-year-old man.
Around 11:50 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, Trooper Hugh Grant was on patrol with a citizen observer in the area south of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway and Scottsdale Road in Tempe when Mr. Grant observed a man knock a street sign into the roadway. Using his speaker, Mr. Grant asked the man to pick up the sign.
DPS said the man refused and then walked down the middle of Rural Road. The man, later identified as Mohamed Ahmed E A Al-Hashemi, 25, a Qatari national in the United States on student visa, continued to defy Mr. Grant's commands and continued to walk down the middle of the roadway.
As Al-Hashemi walked down the roadway, DPS said he became wildly demonstrative in his physical behavior and actions. As the trooper placed his vehicle in front of Al-Hashemi to keep him from being hit by oncoming traffic, the trooper ordered him to “get out of the street.”
DPS said Al-Hashemi refused and instead charged at the trooper’s vehicle and kicked the hood area. The trooper exited his vehicle and gave Al-Hashemi commands to “get on the ground.” He again refused, at which time the trooper deployed his taser multiple times without success, DPS said.
DPS said Al-Hashemi then charged at trooper and violently attacked him.
"The attack can be characterized as extraordinarily vicious," a DPS release states. "Within seconds, the trooper was in a fight for his life. The subject struck the trooper with fists, headbutt and full-kick strikes, knocking him to the ground at least three times. The trooper desperately called for his citizen observer to radio for help."
At one point, DPS said Al-Hashemi acquired the trooper's taser and hit him over the head with the weapon. While the trooper was on the ground, Al-Hashemi continued to kick the trooper in the head, with the trooper reportedly feeling a loss of conciousness.
"The trooper knew both his life and the life of the citizen observer in his car were in immediate danger of death," DPS states. "As his last resort the trooper deployed his duty weapon, striking the subject and killing him."
In a press conference, Col. Frank Milstead said Al-Hashemi was not known to have any mental illness. Al-Hashemi has had run-ins with Tempe police, which include several trepassing incidents at the city's Islamic center, DPS said.
The trooper was taken to the hospital where he was treated for injuries and released.
The investigation into the trooper-involved shooting continues.
DPS released video of the encounter, which can be seen below (viewer discretion is advised).