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Maricopa man fatally shot by police was not armed at time of shooting, video shows

911 calls released by Maricopa police indicate Lawrence Knudsen was making suicidal statements before he was shot by officers.

MARICOPA, Ariz. — A man fatally shot by Maricopa police officers last month was holding an object at the time of the shooting that later turned out to be a vape pen, according to body-worn camera footage recently released by police.

Lawrence Knudsen, 56, called 911 on March 27 and told the dispatcher he was suicidal. During the phone call, Knudsen indicated he had a gun but told the dispatcher he wasn't looking to hurt any police officers. 

After the officers arrived, Knudsen can be heard saying "Let's do this" repeatedly and began to walk toward the officers. An officer instructs Knudsen to back up and he doesn't comply, according to the video footage. 

One officer fired a taser and another officer discharges their gun at Knudsen.

Knudsen can be seen holding a black object in one of his hands that later turned out to be a vape pen. A gun was found in Knudsen's truck.

Knudsen was taken to the hospital and later died from his injuries. 

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.  

The Maricopa Police Department will conduct its own administrative review to determine if the actions of the involved officers were in line with department policies.

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Suicide Lifeline

Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide can reach out for help by calling 1-800-273-8255.  

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential support to people experiencing suicidal ideation or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the U.S. The service aims to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. 

Arizona's Suicide/Crisis Hotlines by County: 

  • 1-800-631-1314 and 602-222-9444 (Maricopa County) 
  • 1-800-796-6762 or 520-622-6000 (Pima Country) 
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Graham, Greenlee, Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties) 
  • 1-800-259-3449 (Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities) 
  • 1-866-495-6735 (Yuma, La Paz, Pinal, and Gila Countries) 
  • 1-877-756-4090 (Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo, and Yavapai Counties)

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