TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona police officer who stopped an armed suspect by running him over told investigators he felt it was his only option.
The dramatic encounter in the Tucson suburb of Marana in February gained worldwide attention this week after dash-cam video showing the officer ramming into the suspect was released.
Prosecutors have cleared Officer Michael Rapiejko of wrongdoing. In a recorded interview released to The Associated Press on Friday, Rapiejko is heard explaining his thought process and why he chose to run over 36-year-old Mario Valencia instead of shooting him.
Rapiejko said he was too far to shoot his handgun accurately and that shooting it would have posed a risk to other officers and bystanders.
Rapiejko is back on the force, and the Marana Police Department has stood by him.