MPD releases video from fatal officer-involved shooting

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This image is taken from the body camera worn by a Maricopa police officer at the scene of the March incident in Homestead. [Maricopa Police Department]

The Maricopa Police Department Tuesday released body camera footage and parts of 9-1-1 calls related to the investigation of an officer-involved shooting of a Homestead resident in March.

An officer shot Lawrence Knudsen, 56, in the 20000 block of MacNeil Street after the man had called 9-1-1, informed an operator he was outside his home armed with a handgun and told her to “just bring them,” referring to police. He met officers on the street outside his home.

The video shows an agitated Knudsen advancing on Officer Carmen Nylander, while she repeatedly yelled, “Back up! Back the f*** up!” He continued to advance with his hands in the air, holding an object in each hand. Nylander fired four shots at Knudsen from 6-8 feet away.

“F***” Nylander can be heard saying as Knudsen fell to the street and began to moan.

At the same time, Officer Timothy Nye fired his Taser weapon at Knudsen. (A third officer, Irene McCorry, also responded to the scene.)

At that point, Nye can be heard radioing for a man down, the video showed.

Knudsen was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The video presentation (content advisory: violence, foul language) included clips from bodycam videos on Nye and McCorry. But Nylander’s body camera was not activated during the incident, according to Maricopa police, who said they released the video “in the interest of transparency.” The department said it is preparing to release “complete video and audio files” from the incident within 24 hours.

An investigation by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office showed Knudsen was holding a vape pen and a cell phone in his hands when he was shot. He had told the 9-1-1 operator that he had a handgun on the tailgate of his pickup truck, that it was close to his right hand, and he was right-handed, according to the video, which included portions of several 9-1-1 calls. As he walked toward police, the gun remained on the truck tailgate.

Because the incident resulted in a death, Maricopa police requested an outside law enforcement agency to conduct an independent investigation of the use of force. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office investigation is continuing.

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

Knudsen was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator several times leading up to the fatal shooting, the video showed. In his initial call to 9-1-1, he told the operator, “Nobody’s listening to me. I’m about to put a bullet in my head.”

Several times he hung up, and the dispatcher called him back.

Knudsen later told the operator that he would be confrontational with police if they approached him. In an earlier conversation, Knudsen said, “I’m not looking to hurt any cops, OK?”

Later, Knudsen told the operator, “Just bring ‘em. Bring the m*****f*****s” and “Let’s do this.”