Gun violence study shows Phoenix with high rate of fatal shootings by police

Mar 10, 2023, 11:59 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A new study shows that Phoenix has the highest rate of fatal shootings by police departments out of the nation’s 10 largest cities.

The findings were part of a wide-ranging report on gun violence compiled over the last eight months and released Thursday by the Arizona Public Health Association.

In a chilling coincidence, Phoenix officers were involved in shootings four of the five days before the results were released. Two suspects were killed, and one was seriously injured. Another wasn’t hit.

The report says the rate of fatal police shootings for 2015-21 was 8.2 per million residents in Phoenix, well ahead of San Antonio, which was next at 5.1 per million. Los Angeles was third at 3.9 per million.

Tucson and Mesa, which aren’t among the nation’s 10 most populous cities, also had higher rates than San Antonio.

Will Humble, Arizona Public Health Association executive director, said the report documents the statistics, but it doesn’t delve into the causes.

But he has some ideas, he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show, citing two factors.

First, Arizona has loose gun laws.

“That leads to more frequent encounters with bad guys who are not supposed to have guns,” he said.

Humble also suggested there’s less accountability for police in Arizona than other places where guns are easily obtained, including Texas.

“There’s an issue with accountability when deadly force is used in terms of having an honest assessment of … how well were the rules of engagement adhered to,” he said.

Humble, a former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the report provides important information that the state agency doesn’t track.

“We spent the last eight months putting this together in hopes that over the course of time policymakers will start referring to the surveillance data to help make better public policy decisions in Arizona,” he said.

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Gun violence study shows Phoenix with high rate of fatal shootings by police