An Arizona police officer shot and killed a man Sunday night after responding to a report of a man pointing a rifle out a fifth-floor hotel window.
Turns out, the man was only holding a pellet gun that he used for his job in pest control.
And it’s not even clear if the man Mesa police shot and killed was the man holding the pellet gun. Not that it should matter because nobody’s life was in danger.
Police say they only killed Daniel Shaver, a traveling businessman from Texas, because he “refused to comply with officer commands and reached toward his lower back several times,” according to the Arizona Republic.
And usually that’s all it takes for most people to give police the thumbs up in the shooting.
But Shaver’s wife, Laney Sweet, posted a heartbreaking Facebook description of what likely took place that night.
Her husband, who traveled the country on business, just had dinner with a man and a woman at a restaurant when the three of them returned to his hotel room.
Shaver was apparently showing them the pellet guns he uses for work, at least one which was a rifle. Either Shaver or the man was holding the rifle out the window of the hotel room. The kind of thing people do when showing each other a gun after ensuring it is unloaded, especially in a gun-friendly state like Arizona. Probably checking out the scopes on the rifle, oblivious to the alarm they were creating.
And somebody got scared and called the cops – many times the worst thing anybody can do – and now the man is dead, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.
The pellet guns were in a case near the window.
Shaver was killed in the hallway.
Here is the account from the Arizona Republic:
A Mesa police officer shot and killed a man at a La Quinta Inn on Sunday night after receiving reports that he was pointing a rifle out of the hotel window, officials said.
Two guests in the pool area reported seeing the man point a rifle outside the fifth-floor window of his hotel room, located near U.S. 60 and Power Road, said Detective Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman.
Police located the hotel room and commanded the two occupants, a man and a woman, to come out, Berry said. The pair exited the room, and police detained the woman without struggle.
Berry said the man refused to comply with officer commands and reached toward his lower back several times.
“Based on the initial report of the suspect having a gun, not complying with commands and reaching behind his body, the officer felt threatened and discharged his weapon, striking the suspect,” Berry said in a prepared statement.
These are the stories we read every day where we tell ourselves, if only he had complied because we know how trigger happy cops can get.
But reading his wife’s Facebook post makes this incident much more personal because Shaver does not come across as the type of person who would deliberately refuse an order from a cop pointing a gun at him.
He was a man on a business trip, possibly entertaining clients, probably wondering why cops were even at his door in the first place.
His wife said 48 hours had passed and police had not notified her of her husband’s death. She had to call around to hospitals, jails and police stations to eventually find the truth.
Here is her Facebook post:
My beloved husband, Daniel, was shot and passed away the evening of Monday, January 18th. All of the details are not clear right now but I feel the need to put out what we know as truth and allow the rest to unfold through proper investigation– and to dispel rumors that have been circulating in the media.
Daniel was traveling for work in Mesa, Arizona. He makes this trip 2-3 times a month and frequently services pest removal stores there. He carries his work equipment: two pellet guns (one approved for flying and one that is not allowed due to an air compressor, I believe.) among other things like a pump, ect. with him on every trip. Due to how expensive his company’s pellet guns are, he takes his hard case into his hotel room every night.
Daniel had dinner with two individuals, a man and woman, in the evening at a local restaurant. They returned to the hotel and went to his room together. I spoke with him on the phone and he had also been online and playing a game with a friend. At some point, someone near the pool called the local police stating that they saw a man with a gun near the window of a 5th floor hotel room. Whether Daniel was the one holding it or he allowed the other man to view his equipment and look into the scope, we don’t know. The man left the room at some point, for what we think was a trip to the gas station. Shortly after, three police arrived to his hotel room and Daniel and the woman came to the door. When asked to step out of the room they both did without hesitation. We were told that Daniel was not aggressive but that he failed to listen when instructing to NOT put his hands behind his back. Due to him putting his hands behind his back, the Mesa, AZ police department took forceful action and shot him. Daniel passed away in the hallway of his hotel, unarmed. His two pellet guns were in and next to his case near the window. It has been almost 48 hours and I have yet to be contacted by anyone about this matter. No notice of death, nothing. I had to do my own investigating after not hearing from him/him not showing up to work, that led me to call every hospital, jail and police station searching for answers.
Unfortunately, I did finally find him when calling the local coroner. No one had the respect or empathy to call me and our children and tell us that Daniel had been taken from us. Not only that, but not one detective assigned to the case has called me back after leaving voice mails seeking answers.
He was my best friend. The love of my life. A son. A brother. Many people’s friend. The glue that held me together. He was madly in love with his two daughters. He sacrificed being away from his family for 25 days a month so he could provide for us, in hopes one day we could all be together all the time. Our oldest, Natalie (6), is a true daddy’s girl. Anyone who has seen them together knows how much they adored each other. Emery will be turning four next week. The last time they saw their dad, we went to lunch together at Natalie’s school to surprise her before he left town. He came home, pushed Emery in the swing for awhile and said goodbye. I was upset that he had to go so he turned his truck back around and gave me three, sweet and meaningful kisses. I am so thankful that is my last memory of us together. He always did everything for us to be happy– and without his comfort, we are broken and we miss him terribly. My girls want their daddy home. I want their tears to stop and for their sweet little delicate hearts to have never experienced this traumatizing loss.
We are raising money for immediate needs like his cremation/memorial service, an attorney to properly investigate and for traveling expenses to be with his family during this time.
Donations can be made via GoFundMe (www.gofundme.com/danielmemorialfund).
Mesa police are being very tightlipped about this shooting because they probably know they screwed up. This habit of killing people just because their hands are not visible seems to be seized upon my cops every day who are just itching to kill. We already know the cop is going to claim he feared for his life.
But did the cop really think Shaver was holding a rifle behind his back?
Mesa police do wear body cams, so we’ll see if this incident was captured on video.
UPDATE: We initially reported the victim’s name as Daniel Sweet because his wife’s name was Laney Sweet and she did not specify in her post that his name was Daniel Shaver, nor was she responding to requests for interviews. We have since updated the article.