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Updated Mar 11, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Ex-convict served time on assault before shootout

PHOENIX — An ex-convict who police say killed two people before engaging
in a gunbattle with authorities on a Phoenix-area freeway was paroled from a
Colorado prison in October after serving 4 1/2 years of a roughly six-year
sentence on charges that included punching a sheriff’s deputy in the face.

Andrew J. Rael, 25, died about 3:30 a.m. Monday after leading police on a
30-minute chase on Interstate 10 across much of the Phoenix area.

Department of Public Safety officers, who joined in the pursuit, used
tire-puncturing strips to stop Rael’s car, authorities said.

Rael immediately exited his vehicle and opened fire on authorities with a
semi-automatic rifle before being shot and killed, DPS spokesman Bart Graves
said Tuesday.

“It was over pretty quickly. We spike-stripped him. He came out of the vehicle
shooting at us, and we returned fire and killed him,” Graves said.

Rael was paroled from a Colorado prison Oct. 29 after serving about 4 1/2
years. He did not get early release, but instead earned credit toward his
sentence while incarcerated, said Mary Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Colorado
Department of Corrections.

Rael was granted permission to serve his parole in his native Arizona, where
authorities said he had been in full compliance.

Before the shootings Sunday and Monday, “he had no police contact, no reports
of drug use, and he had at least part-time work as a landscaper,” Arizona
Department of Corrections spokesman Doug Nick said Tuesday. “He reported every
month, never missed.”

Rael was imprisoned in Colorado after pleading guilty to several charges
stemming from crimes in 2007 and 2008, including at least two assaults, one on a
law enforcement officer, according to court officials.

“He punched a deputy in the face,” Sgt. Joe Roybal of the El Paso County
Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, authorities in Arizona say Rael killed a tow-truck driver Sunday and
a convenience-store employee early the next morning before leading police on the
chase that led to his death.

Michael Psalidas, 49, was fatally shot outside an auto-repair business in
Buckeye. Rael and Psalidas reportedly argued about a payment before the
shooting, police said.

A few hours later, early Monday morning, Glendale police say Rael shot
convenience store clerk Daniel Scott White, 26, following an argument outside
the shop. White died later at a hospital from several gunshot wounds.

The investigations into both shootings remain ongoing.


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