Tucson, AZ – Authorities in Tucson identified the gunman in a bizarre series of deadly attacks on first responders and civilians on Sunday and showed bodycam video of the final encounter (video below).
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said investigators believed that 35-year-old Leslie Stephen Scarlett initially set fire to a home in the 100-block of East Irene Vista at about 3:46 p.m. on July 18, FOX News reported.
The Tucson Fire Department responded to 911 calls about the blaze, KOLD reported.
Chief Magnus told reporters at a press conference that Scarlett left the scene after he started the house fire and went to the nearby Quincie Douglas Center where an America Medical Response ambulance was stationed for “an unrelated medical emergency,” FOX News reported.
The police chief said that Scarlett ambushed two EMTs who were standing by the ambulance.
A 20-year-old male EMT was shot in the head, FOX News reported.
He was transported to Barnard University Medical Center where he remained in life-threatening condition.
His 22-year-old female EMT partner was shot in the chest and in the arm and remains hospitalized in serious-but-stable condition, FOX News reported.
Chief Magnus said that after Scarlett shot the medics, he returned to the house he’d set ablaze and opened fire on firefighters, neighbors, and “basically anyone who was trying to help.”
The chief said Scarlett shot one neighbor – later identified as 44-year-old Cory Saunders – in the head in front of the man’s 11-year-old son, FOX News reported.
A second neighbor who was trying to help sustained a graze wound to the head but did not require treatment at the hospital, Chief Magnus said.
He said Scarlett also shot a fire captain in the arm.
The official was transported to the hospital for treatment of his wounds and had been released to recover at home on Monday, FOX News reported.
A women who lived in the home on fire is presumed dead, although remains found inside the wreckage of the home have yet to be positively identified.
Children who lived in the home were missing immediately after the blaze prompting concerns, but Chief Magnus said they had all been located safe with family members, FOX News reported.
After shooting rescuers at the house fire scene, Scarlett fled the area again and then rammed a police car that had responded to the incident.
Bodycam video released by Chief Magnus on July 19 showed Tucson Police Officer Danny Leon jumped out of his police SUV after it was struck by Scarlett’s SUV and took cover.
Chief Magnus said that Scarlett fired three rounds at Officer Leon, and the officer fired back and hit the gunman, FOX News reported.
Bodycam video showed Officer Leon firing at Scarlett from behind the SUV to stop the threat.
Officer Leon is an eight-year veteran of the Tucson police force, according to the chief.
The officer who shot the gunman and other officers who responded to the scene rendered medical aid to Scarlett until the ambulance arrived, FOX News reported.
“His actions serve as a critical reminder for the role police play in protecting the public,” Chief Magnus said of Officer Leon. “His ability to go from using deadly force to rendering first aid is remarkable – but not unusual.”
The police chief addressed the gunman’s motives and talked about mental health issues, FOX News reported.
“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,” he told reporters at the press conference. “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.”
“Is it a vendetta, the uniform, the authority it represents or just that police, fire and EMS are the ones out in the field responding to crises and dealing with deeply troubled people day in and day out?” Chief Magnus asked.
The police chief pointed out that as a convicted felon, Scarlett had been prohibited from possessing any firearms, FOX News reported.
“The real question we should be asking is how can we coordinate the work of our criminal justice and mental health systems to prevent these terrible attacks? Who are these ticking time bombs and is there anything we can do, working together instead of in silos, to predict their level of risk?” he continued.
“How does someone like the suspect in this case, a prohibited possessor, even come to have a firearm?” the chief asked. “There are many unanswered questions right now that need to be pursued further in the days to come.”
Watch the incident come to an end in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: