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Man shot, killed by Phoenix officers near 75th Ave. and Buckeye

75th Avenue Buckeye OIS
Posted at 8:28 AM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 16:31:05-04

PHOENIX — A man was shot and killed by a Phoenix police officer Saturday morning near 75th Avenue and Buckeye Road.

Officers received a call around 7:30 a.m. regarding two people refusing to get off a bus.

When on scene, officers entered the bus. While an officer was still on the bus, one of the men, Adam Vespoli, exited and entered into the driver's seat of the officer's unlocked patrol SUV.

The officer noticed Vespoli in his car, ran off the bus, and placed his foot on the vehicle's running board.

Police say when 39-year-old Vespoli put the car in drive, the officer shot him, later claiming that he feared for his life.

Vespoli was taken to a local hospital where he died.

The officer was taken the hospital as a 'precaution' amid a minor leg injury, police said.

It is unclear how many times the officer fired and where Vespoli was shot.

Multiple independent sources tell ABC15 the officer who fired shots in the incident is Donnell Lindo.

Officer Lindo shot and killed an armed suspect on April 3, 2021. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has yet to clear Lindo of criminal wrongdoing, due to their backlog of cases.

Vespoli's mother, Susan, told ABC15 her son battled drug addiction and was experiencing homelessness at the time of his death. She said she has no idea why her son would jump into a cop car, but said Adam would often ride the bus to escape the Arizona elements.

"He told me he could stay on the bus with air conditioning, and they wouldn’t kick him off," said Susan. "That’s how he would survive part of the summer, and I know that’s what he was doing to avoid the cold."

The mother now has questions about the officer's actions, and if the deadly use-of-force was justified.

"He shouldn’t have jumped in the car. But I want to know 'Why?'" said Susan. "That’s not a reason to be shot… To me it was like a reaction. Someone was taking [Lindo's patrol] car, so he shot him."

"I want to see that man’s face. I want to look at him and say, 'That was my son. That was my son,'" said Susan.

ABC15 has requested Lindo's personnel file and disciplinary report. Phoenix PD will release portions of the body camera, 911 call and relevant surveillance video within 14 days of the shooting. 

No information has been released as to why the two were asked to get off the bus, the relationship of the two on the bus, or why Vespoli tried to steal the police vehicle.