Mesa police officers fatally shoot knife-wielding man

Jan 4, 2022, 5:58 AM | Updated: 4:25 pm
(Facebook Photo/Mesa Police Department)...
(Facebook Photo/Mesa Police Department)
(Facebook Photo/Mesa Police Department)

PHOENIX – Police in Mesa fatally shot a man they said came at them with a knife Monday night.

The man, identified as 26-year-old Caleb Stanford, died at a hospital after the 6:30 p.m. confrontation near McKellips Road and Country Club Drive.

It was the second deadly shooting of the day by the East Valley city’s police officers.

The Mesa Police Department said in a press release officers had been called to the area after receiving reports of someone armed with a knife who was “causing a disturbance” and another call about gunfire.

The calls, police said, turned out to be related.

Police said the first call stemmed from Stanford confronting several males with a knife and then leaving after breaking a vehicle’s windshield, with the second call involving Stanford approaching another man with a knife in his hand, which resulted in the individual firing a round from his gun into the ground near Stanford.

Police said when officers reached the scene they saw a man carrying an 8-inch blade kitchen knife walking in their direction. After initially responding by obeying the officer’s command and beginning to lie on his stomach, Stanford allegedly refused to drop the knife. As officers were trying to talk to the man, he allegedly jumped up and advanced on officers still holding the knife.

Officers then fired their weapons after he continued to refuse commands to stop, authorities said.

Prior to the incident, officers had responded to several calls involving Stanford’s mental health over the last few days, authorities said, with the man in each instance refusing to speak with officers or accept any help.

Earlier Monday, Mesa police shot and killed a man carrying a metal tool who ran at them during a response call near Val Vista Drive and Adobe Street.

These were the first shootings of 2022 by Valley law enforcement.

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Mesa police officers fatally shoot knife-wielding man