Mesa Police Officer Charged With Murder In January Shooting

Published: Friday, March 4, 2016 - 6:35pm
Updated: Monday, March 7, 2016 - 11:08am
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Jude Joffe-Block/KJZZ
Bill Montgomery

A Mesa police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a Texas man at a hotel on Martin Luther King Day, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement Friday that Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford used unjustified force in shooting Daniel Shaver, 26.

“This office will prosecute this case with the same degree of professionalism as we do any other, recognizing the due process rights of the defendant, the rights of the victim and the victim’s family in pursuit of a just result for all,” Montgomery’s statement read.

Mesa police went to Shaver’s room at the La Quinta Inn & Suites on Jan. 18 after a guest reported someone pointed a rifle out of a window.

When officers arrived, Shaver and a woman came out, and police took the woman into custody, according to Mesa police. As Shaver was trying to surrender, investigators said he reached toward his lower back and waistband.

Mesa police have said Brailsford shot Shaver because he felt threatened. MCAO said Brailsford fired five rounds at Shaver.

Shaver traveled with pellet guns for his work in pest control, which had brought him to Mesa, according to statements made by his family on social media.

A statement attributed to his widow was posted to Facebook on Friday afternoon:

"On behalf of her two young daughters, the victim Laney Sweet wants everyone to know her husband Daniel Shaver was a wonderful and devoted husband and father,” the statement said. “He was a kind, loving and peaceful human being. His tragic and senseless murder has caused irreparable devastation to all their lives. Today’s announcement of 2nd degree murder charges against Mesa Police Officer Brailsford is the first step towards justice for Daniel and his family. We commend Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery for his decision to bring these criminal charges, and we fully expect justice will be served."

Mesa police also released a statement promising full cooperation going forward. Investigators previously said a body camera recorded the shooting, but declined to release footage until after the investigation.

Brailsford has worked for the department for 2.5 years. His first court appearance is scheduled for March 15.

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