Tempe police officer shoots, kills man suspected of shoplifting from Walmart

May 10, 2023, 6:54 AM | Updated: May 19, 2023, 10:59 am

(Facebook Photo/Tempe Police Department)...

(Facebook Photo/Tempe Police Department)

(Facebook Photo/Tempe Police Department)

PHOENIX – A Tempe police officer shot and killed a man suspected of shoplifting from a Walmart on Tuesday night, authorities said.

Officers responded to a shoplifting call at the Walmart at Elliot Road and Priest Drive around 7:30 p.m., Sgt. Hector Encinas said during a late-night press conference.

The suspect was described as a man in his mid-20s who allegedly took a soundbar from the store.

A responding officer located the man, later identified as 28-year-old Mathew Almanzar, matching the description on a canal path north of the Walmart a few minutes later and shot him, said Encinas, who didn’t say what prompted the officer to fire his gun.

In a press release Thursday morning, police said “a confrontation occurred between the officer and suspect” before shooting, but did not elaborate further.

Fire department personnel arrived and took Almanzar to a hospital in critical condition, Encinas said.

A weapon described only as a “sharp object” was found near Almanzar’s body, police said.

“The officer involved has about 20 years with the Tempe Police Department,” Encinas said. “His body-worn camera was activated during the time of the incident.”

The officer was placed on administrative leave in accordance with department policy.

Encinas said more information would be provided as the investigation progressed.

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Tempe police officer shoots, kills man suspected of shoplifting from Walmart