Gunman involved in shootout with police had been affected by recent events

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A police incident report that’s over 300 pages long details the night two people were shot and killed and two officers were hurt last month, and what the shooter’s parents say might have led up to the tragic event.

On Sunday, Aug. 28, a shooter opened fire in the parking lot of Days Inn near 26th Avenue and Deer Valley Road. Police say the suspect, 24-year-old Isaiah Williams, was wearing a ballistic vest, a gas mask, a helmet and knee pads. He was also carrying an AR-15 rifle, a molotov cocktail and a Taurus 9mm handgun.

In surveillance video recently released by the Phoenix Police Dept., Williams can be seen shooting at various cars in the parking lot, including one with five people inside. While three were able to get out and run away, two others in a car were killed. Police have identified them as 44-year-old Karla Garzona and 36-year-old Misael Arevalo.

Officer trapped by gunfire was blinded by blood running down his face

Officers arrived moments later and were immediately fired upon. In the newly-released report, one officer described how quickly everything changed. He said he and other officers were responding to the active shooter call when he began hearing “popping” sounds. He said he then saw a dark figure standing on a nearby sidewalk shooting at his and other officers’ SUVs.

The officer said several rounds hit his windshield and he pulled over. He said he was pinned down by gunfire and took cover between the driver and front passenger seats. The officer tried to drive to a safer location, but gunfire had disabled his Tahoe.

The officer then described how he got out of the Tahoe, and that he couldn’t see because blood from shrapnel injuries to his head was pouring down his face into his eyes. He stayed up against the SUV because since was still being shot at and radioed for help. Other officers were able to get him to safety and he was taken to a nearby hospital. The officer said he was terrified that the gunman was going to ambush him because he couldn’t see very well.

Second Officer Injured

Another officer was met with gunfire when he arrived. According to the incident report, the officer felt pressure on his arm and realized he was bleeding. They drove to a safe location where the officer he was with applied a tourniquet and drove him to a hospital. That’s where doctors found the officer had up to three gunshot wounds to his left shoulder area, one of which fractured his arm.

When the dust settled, three people were dead, and two officers were hurt. The suspect, Williams, had taken his own life. In the days that followed, investigators worked to determine what led up to the shooting.

The Gunman’s Past

Officers spoke with a high school classmate of Williams (the shooter), who had known him since around 2011. The classmate described Williams as “normal” and wasn’t aware of any mental health issues, but that he had noticed a change during the pandemic and George Floyd-related protests. He said Williams’ social media posts had increasingly become anti-government and anti-law enforcement. Williams had recently graduated from Arizona State University but hadn’t been able to find a job.

In the report, officers also found a text conversation on Williams’ phone where he had thanked a man for “the talk” and for recommending a book titled “The Destruction of Black Civilization.” Officers identified and met with the other man, who is a professor at a Houston-area university. He also drives for Uber on the side and Williams had been a passenger four days prior to the shooting.

His parents told investigators that Williams had bought a plane ticket to Houston about a week before the shooting. He had recently sold his car and told his parents he was going to Texas, and then possibly leaving the U.S. He never left the country and returned to Arizona a few days later.

His parents became concerned about his mental state a few months before the shooting after several issues had “taken a toll.” The incident report mentions “fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, racial tension, police violence and the current state of the economy.” His parents said they took away his AR-15 rifle and 9mm pistol because they were worried he might hurt himself and locked them away in a gun safe. It’s unclear if those were the same weapons used in the mass shooting.

His mother told investigators she never thought in her wildest dreams that he would hurt other people. Because of Williams’ death, the report ends by saying the investigation has been closed.


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