PHOENIX — Newly released video show what led up to a Phoenix officer fatally shooting a man who got behind the wheel of his police SUV.
Warning: the video for this story is graphic and may not be appropriate for all viewers.
On the morning of March 12, the officer left his patrol vehicle unlocked and running when he boarded a bus near 75th Avenue and Buckeye Road. The officer was responding to a 911 call about two unwanted passengers.
A bus security camera captured Adam Vespoli, 39, getting off the bus. He walked over to the police SUV and got in. Seconds later, the officer ran down the sidewalk with his gun out. He jumped on the running board and pointed the gun at Vespoli.
Vespoli started to drive off. The officer fired at least three shots and jumped off the SUV's running board. The officer suffered minor injuries, according to police officials.
Multiple sources tell ABC15 the officer involved is named Donnell Lindo. On the force for three years, this is his second shooting.
There is ongoing controversy about whether police officers should be permitted to shoot at moving vehicles.
A group called Campaign Zero proposed eight policies in June 2020 to curtail police violence in response to the murder of George Floyd. #8CantWait includes a ban on shooting into moving vehicles, calling it "a dangerous and ineffective tactic."
Police Chief Jeri Williams, in August 2021, said Phoenix follows the recommendations of the national #8CantWait campaign. However, the actual Phoenix police policy, updated in November, doesn't fully ban this practice. Instead, it bans shooting at a moving vehicle "for the sole purpose of disabling it."
Phoenix's policy does tell officers not to deliberately place themselves "in the path of a moving vehicle or one capable of immediate movement" and it cautions against reaching or leaning into a running vehicle with the driver's seat occupied.
A criminal investigation and internal affairs investigation will be conducted in this case, which is routine in police shooting situations.