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Mesa officer fires at suspect who allegedly drew gun while fleeing

Ryan Coley Austin (Mesa Police Photo)

PHOENIX – Police said a Mesa officer fired at an armed suspect early Monday morning at an apartment complex when the suspect ran away and drew his gun.

Neither the officer nor the suspect, 23-year-old Ryan Coley Austin, were injured in the confrontation near Baseline and Ellsworth roads.

Det. Jason Flam told KTAR News 92.3 FM police arrived at the apartment site in response to a disturbing the peace call around 12:25 a.m.

A witness told officers the man had been acting erratically and had thrown a stroller into the swimming pool.

An officer spotted a man who matched the witness description, and noticed he had a gun in the waistband of his pants.

Police said Austin began to flee, reached for his waistband and drew his gun, leading the officer to fire at him.

Austin took off in the direction of Loop 202 and Guadalupe Road, the area where he was found hours later.

Flam said they recovered a handgun and several rounds of ammunition at the scene.

According to court documents, police also found that a truck parked near where they originally found Austin had an attached tool box that was damaged, with tools scattered on the ground.

Austin admitted to officers that he had been smoking marijuana all day and said he “blacked out” when police approached him, according to the documents.

The documents showed that Austin was convicted of multiple felonies in South Carolina, and he was barred from owning weapons or ammunition.

Austin was charged with one count each of aggravated assault, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, third-degree burglary and criminal damage.

Editor’s Note: It was originally reported that the officer and suspect exchanged fire, but according to court documents, the suspect only drew his gun. 

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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