Prosecutor: Police Shooting at RV Park 'Justifiable'

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September 2, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

The case has finally been closed on the police standoff and shooting of Betty Shanafelt April 2 at the Camelot RV Park in Cottonwood, Ariz., the Verde Independent reported

The 62-year-old woman seemed to repeatedly "bait" four responding officers to pull their triggers. As the officers responded that afternoon to the woman with a gun who threatened suicide, she told them she tried, but could not kill herself and that it was their duty as public servants to take her life. "It's going to be 'suicide by cop,'" she told them.

Shanafelt had been evicted when she lost her job and could not pay for her space at the park. She sold off her belongings, her truck and approached the cops with two loaded guns.

Chief Deputy Dennis McGrane of the Yavapai County Attorney's Office reviewed the lengthy shooting team report as well as the internal investigation by Cottonwood police.

From those findings, he determined that Officer Steve Phoenix made a "justifiable response to an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon" committed by Ms. Shanafelt.

McGrane said, "…it is readily apparent that no evidence exists to indicate any wrong doing on the part of the involved officers of the Cottonwood Police Department. The evidence indicates the entire C.P.D. did everything possible to prevent the resulting outcome. Ms. Shanafelt placed all four C.P.D. officers in reasonable apprehension that each was going to be shot if they did not act with immediate and appropriate force."

When three attempts by the officers to use Tasers either failed or failed to subdue Shanafelt, the woman, balancing on her cane, gave the officers a disgusted glance and began to draw her handgun from her holster. Shanafelt carried a second handgun in a fanny pack.

It was Phoenix who fired the three shots that ended the confrontation.

The internal investigation found that Phoenix operated within departmental policy and procedure.

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