FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A calm encounter between a northern Arizona officer and a domestic violence suspect quickly turned deadly for the officer, newly released police video shows.
The nearly 14-minute video from Officer Tyler Stewart's body camera starts with Stewart in his patrol vehicle and ends with a gun pointed at him. The footage released Tuesday does not show the actual shooting.
Stewart and Robert Smith speak calmly outside Smith's Flagstaff home on Dec. 27 for about three minutes. Smith had his hands in his pockets most of the time.
Shortly after the officer asked if he could check Smith for weapons, Smith pulled a .22-caliber revolver from his right pocket and fired six shots at Stewart — five of which hit the 24-year-old officer.
Police said Smith, 28, killed himself almost immediately with Stewart's service weapon and was pronounced dead at the scene. The officer who had been with the Flagstaff Police Department less than a year later died at a hospital.
The video tracks what police have said all along about the shooting and highlights one of the most common calls for service in Flagstaff. The only thing off about Smith's behavior was that he kept his right hand in his pocket, police Sgt. Margaret Bentzen told the Arizona Daily Sun.
One of Smith's roommates told police that Smith had been contemplating suicide, according to police reports. Bentzen said police have not determined a motive.
"Officer Stewart was murdered by Smith without any provocation or warning," she said. "There were no homicidal or suicidal indications from Smith prior to the crime."
The video was released to the media under state public records requests.