An Arizona police officer rammed into a suspect with his patrol car in February in order to stop the suspect’s alleged crime spree, according to two dashcam videos released by police on Tuesday.
In one of the videos released, a gunshot can be heard as the suspect, Mario Valencia, can be seen walking on a sidewalk in Marana, Ariz.
According to CBS, Marana police said that Valencia had stolen a gun from a Walmart after allegedly robbing a convenience store, setting fire to a church, and breaking into a home and a car.
Officer Michael Rapiejko decided to run into Valencia with his cruiser after police had already allegedly witnessed Valencia threaten to commit suicide and point a gun at his head, according to CBS.
The first dashcam video released is from a police car following Valencia as he walked on a sidewalk. The officer in the car can be heard saying that a shot has been fired. Another police car can then be seen driving past and onto the sidewalk, running into Valencia and then a cement wall.
In the video, the officer in the car can be heard saying, “Jesus Christ! Man down,” as the second cruiser rammed into the suspect.
The second video shows dashcam footage from the car that ran over Valencia as the cruiser rams into the suspect.
Valencia spent two days in the hospital following the incident, and is now in jail, according to CBS. He faces 15 charges, including aggravated assault and armed robbery, according to CNN.
Police defended Rapiejko’s actions by arguing he saved the suspect’s life, since Valencia was suicidal, according to CNN.
Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema said on Tuesday that police needed to stop Valencia before he endangered other people.
“If we’re going to choose between maybe we’ll let him go a little bit farther and see what happens, or we’re going to take him out now and eliminate any opportunity he has to hurt somebody, you’re going to err on the side of, in favor of the innocent people,” Rozema said on CNN.
“This officer made a split-second decision, and in retrospect, when all the dust clears, I think we look at this and say, yeah, there’s things we can learn from this,” Rozema continued, adding that everyone, including the suspect, were safe.
Watch both dashcam videos released by police via CBS. Be warned, the videos are graphic: