Moment cops take down felon, 35, who shot dead neighbor in front of his young son before wounding firefighters and paramedics in ‘nightmare scenario’
‘He was nonchalantly shooting at anybody and anything’ – Police
Tucson, Arizona, police identified suspect in deadly Sunday rampage as ex-convict Leslie Scarlett, 35
Scarlett was critically wounded after allegedly shooting at neighbors, firefighters and paramedics responding to deadly house fire
One EMT was shot in the head and another in the chest; fire captain was shot in the arm
Cory Saunders, 44, was shot and killed in front of his 11-year-old son while trying to help put out the fire
Another neighbor was grazed in the head
Charred body believed to be that of mother of three was discovered inside fire-ravaged home
Scarlett was shot by police after ramming patrol vehicle and opening fire
Police in Tucson have identified an ex-convict as the gunman who they say fatally shot a man in front of his young son and wounded four others, including first responders, during a house fire where a charred body was found.
Two people died and several others were injured, including an American Medical Response EMT and a Fire Department captain, in connection to two related shootings that occurred on Tucson’s south side on Sunday afternoon.
The alleged shooter, Leslie Stephen Scarlett, 35, remained in extremely critical condition at a local hospital, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said at a news conference on Monday night.
Magnus said Scarlett was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer on Sunday.
‘It is not clear what his intentions were,’ Magnus said. ‘This is a highly tragic, really horrific incident, with many unknowns … A nightmare scenario.’
According to TPD Chief Chris Magnus, an American Medical Response ambulance was stationed at Quincie Douglas Center, located at 1575 E. 36th St. near South Kino Parkway, at around 3:45 p.m. Sunday in reference to an unrelated medical incident when, an armed man, later identified as Leslie Scarlett, approached the parked ambulance and opened fire, shooting one EMT in the head and another in the arm and chest.
The ambulance was two blocks from the fire, at Quincie Douglas Center, but was actually on standby for another incident, authorities said.
The ambulance driver, a 20-year-old man, was shot in the head, and a paramedic in the passenger seat, a 21-year-old woman, was shot in the chest and arm, police said.
The driver was in critical condition and the woman was stable Monday.
The shooter then fled the park in his silver SUV to the scene of a nearby structure fire that was burning near 2100 E. Irene Vista.
On arrival the fleeing suspect began firing his weapon at the firefighters and neighbors trying to douse the flames in the 2100 block of East Irene Vista, authorities said.
‘He was just standing there in the middle of the street kind of nonchalantly reloading and just shooting …at anybody and anything,’ witness Jesse Acuna told AZFamily.
One Tucson Fire captain was struck in the arm and a bystander who lives in the neighborhood was grazed by a bullet in connection to the shooting at the house fire.
One other neighbor, later identified as a 44-year-old man Cory Saunders, was shot in the head as he was helping to put out the fire – and died in front of his 11-year-old son, Chief Magnus said.
Saunders was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Saunders’ girlfriend, Melissa Snyder, told KVOA that he ran out of their home the moment he realized their neighbors’ house was on fire.
Saunders is survived by his son and 12-year-old daughter.
According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Scarlett has a criminal history that includes a 2007 conviction for an attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to six years and was released in August 2013.Bodycam shows officer take down mass shooting suspect in Arizona.
Scarlett was back in jail in 2016 for a brief stint after being convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from a domestic incident involving his girlfriend, who accused him of choking her, reported Arizona Daily Star.
Scarlett is suspected of killing a man and injuring four others in a rampage close to a house fire in Tucson, Arizona Sunday afternoon.
Police said Scarlett drove up to the house fire at 3.45pm and fired shots at an ambulance crew.
Police said a badly burned body was later found inside the burning home hasn’t been identified yet, but likely is the mother of three children who lived there.
The children were initially reported missing but were located unharmed Monday morning, according to authorities.
It is unclear at this time what was Scarlett’s relationship with the mother and children.
Neighbor Ladene Jones told KGUN9 that Scarlett, whom she said she has known a long time and was like an nephew to her, lived with his girlfriend in the house that burned down.
Jones also revealed that during the rampage she tried to reason with Scarlett and dissuade him from shooting people, but he ignored her pleas and remained silent.
A responding police officer encountered Scarlett a couple blocks away near Campbell Avenue and Irene Vista Road. Police said he rammed his SUV into the officer’s vehicle, then fired his weapon at the responding officer.
The officer, eight-year veteran Danny Leone, wasn’t injured and returned fire, critically wounding the suspect, as seen in graphic body camera video that was released by the police on Monday.
Chief Magnus told reporters on Monday that a motive in the deadly rampage has not yet been determined.
‘It is not clear what his intentions were, because he was shooting at people, you know, both neighbors and firefighters, so his intentions remain unclear,’ he said.
Chief Magnus said that TPD rendered aid on Scarlett and transported him to the hospital, where he remains in extremely critical condition.
“Mr. Scarlett has a criminal history that includes serving six years in prison for armed robbery. He also has a history of mental health issues,” Magnus said.
“There are far too many individuals with violent criminal intent and the means to injure and kill people. Too often, first responders, such as police, fire and emergency medical service personnel become targeted for reasons that are unclear.”
The police chief said after the fire was extinguished, TFD discovered a deceased individual in the house. While the identity of this individual has not yet been released, Magnus said a woman who lived in the home is unaccounted for, but presumed dead.
Updating the initial TPD statement that the woman’s three children were unaccounted for after the shooting, Magnus said investigators with the child physical abuse unit located the children safe at a family member’s residence.
The 20-year-old EMT who was shot in the head in connection to Sunday’s incident is currently in life-threatening condition. The other EMT shot in the incident is currently in serious but stable condition, while the the Fire Dept. captain who was shot in the arm Sunday was treated and released from the hospital later that evening, the chief said.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero thanked the police and fire departments for their work in a series of tweets Sunday night: ‘I ask our entire Tucson community to join me in thinking about and praying for the victims of this afternoon’s fire and shooting by Silverlake Park, including first responders from AMR and the Tucson Fire Department. This was a horrific and senseless act of violence,’ she tweeted.
‘Thank you to the men and women at @Tucson_Police, @TucsonFireDeptand all of the first responders and neighbors who courageously responded to the scene, knowingly putting themselves in danger.’