On Monday Dec 16, 2013, there was a police pursuit and standoff involving an armed subject in the East valley; however, what the media failed to mention is this incident originated in student housing at the ASU Polytechnic Campus.
24 hours prior to being apprehended, the suspect threatened to shoot and kill his girlfriend, as well as himself. He also had the means to carry out those threats by claiming he owned several guns (he was later apprehended with a shotgun and a handgun in his vehicle). After the victim reported the threats, ASUPD Sgt Phil Osborne claimed they had no charges against the suspect (please see ARS 13-1202, Threatening and Intimidating, for more info). According to Sgt Osborne, because they had no charges against the suspect, ASUPD was unable to detain or arrest him when/if they had the chance.
Eventually, the suspect was located outside of the victim’s workplace, but took off when officers attempted to stop him. ASUPD Polytechnic Commander, L. Scicilone was stepping over the ASUPD officer’s radio traffic (who was trying to stop the suspect) in an attempt to cover policy, repeatedly (and excitedly) asking over and over, “ you are not in pursuit are you?!?”. ASUPD officers eventually lost the suspect. Gilbert and Mesa officers who were in pursuit of the vehicle (which got up to speeds of 100 mph!) eventually found the suspect. An ASUPD officer responding to the scene driving code three was told by Mesa and Gilbert PD to stay out of their scene. Ultimately the standoff came to a peaceful end and the suspect was taken into custody in Mesa after negotiating with officers.
This situation could have been resolved much sooner had Sgt Osborne reacted appropriately by identifying the fact a crime had occurred and attempted to get the subject into custody soon. What would have happened if the subject would have come back to the victim’s room a day later and killed her? Or fired rounds at police? It is by sheer luck ALONE that ASUPD did not have this situation turn much worse.
This story illustrates perfectly how ASUPD is ill equipped—both with personnel and equipment—to deal with a major incident on campus. The blame lies upon ASUPD command staff who refuse to prepare a contingency plan for a major incident, and provide their officers with adequate training to be able to respond to a barricaded subject or an active shooter. Constantly functioning with the blasé attitude that “it can’t happen here” will eventually get someone seriously harmed/killed and is purely negligent on behalf of command staff.