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PD: Man arrested for pointing loaded gun at food delivery driver in Mesa

Posted at 3:39 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 17:05:40-04

MESA, AZ — A Mesa man is facing multiple charges for allegedly pointing a loaded handgun at a Door Dash driver.

Officers were called to the scene near University Drive and Dobson Road Sunday afternoon after getting reports of a man pointing a gun at a delivery driver.

When officers arrived, they found Valentino Tejada, 32, holding a handgun and arguing with the driver, 24-year-old Dimitri Mills.

Witnesses told police they overheard yelling coming from the parking lot and when they went outside, they say Tejada was pointing a gun at Mills, telling him to "stop stalking him."

Mills, told Tejada he was just a delivery driver and was there to drop off food. A witness told officers that when the victim started to walk away from Tejada, Tejada pointed a gun Mills.

Mills, told authorities he was in fear for his life as well as his girlfriend's, who was in the passenger seat of his car.

"We are doing DoorDash," exclaimed Jade Knight, trying to reason with the man who had pulled a pistol on her boyfriend. "We have food!"

"By the time I hopped out the car he had his gun drawn. And he’s telling me, why am I stalking him?" said Mills, "I was like hey sir, I’m just doing DoorDash."

Mills was helping his girlfriend deliver food for extra cash. She was filming the tense and escalating encounter from the car.

"I was just really scared for Dimitri's life, as well as my own," said Knight.

He goes, 'Hey man don’t get too close, don’t get too close!' As he’s aiming the gun at me," said Mills.

As he was staring down the barrel, Mills was thinking about "being another Trayvon Martin."

Fortunately, neighbors called 911 and Mesa police quickly arrived.

Tejada dropped the gun and was arrested and charged with "a class three felony charge for aggravated assault, and a class six felony for disorderly conduct."

In the past three years, a Mesa police spokesperson says officers have had three contacts with the 32-year-old, but "none were criminal or resulted in an arrest."

In the arrest report officers indicate Tejada may be mentally disturbed.

"I didn’t see none of that. He was fully able, capable," said Mills.

Tejada has already been released, less than 48 hours after his arrest, with no bond, but the cell phone video will play a huge role in the case.

"If there’s no video, I’m not able to say nothing. My word is only so much," said Mills.

"Without this evidence on camera, who knows what would’ve happened to Dimitri," said Benjamin Taylor, Mills' attorney.

Mills and Knight say the harrowing experience is already changing how they view the world. "I’m scared to go to work," said Mills.

"It probably doesn’t even happen to people who have my same skin tone. It’s people with darker complexions," said Knight.

The couple says they are grateful to be alive and likely done doing DoorDash.

"I just want people to be aware of the situation," said Mills.