Man killed in police shooting has extensive criminal history

Man killed in police shooting has extensive criminal history

CREATED Jul 5, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Police identified the Tucson man killed by officers early Wednesday morning as 39-year-old Vincent Alvarez, according to Lt. Fabian Pacheco  – and he has a long list of run-ins with the law.

According to court documents that 9 On Your Side uncovered, Alvarez is guilty of trespassing, using drugs, lewd acts, shoplifting and weapons charges.

Pacheco tells KGUN9 that officers received reports shortly after midnight that a man was assaulting another man with a baseball bat at a mobile home in the 200 block of S. Norris Ave.

When officers arrived, they found two men suffering from serious but injuries that were not life-threatening. The two men gave officers a detailed description of the suspect, and were then transported to a nearby hospital.

Alvarez ran to the backyard of his home near Broadway and Tucson Blvd.

Alvarez then appeared from a garage area armed with a large edged weapon that was 3 inches wide and 18 inches long, Pacheco said.

Pacheco says Sgt. Benjamin Frie told the man to drop his weapon several times, but the man refused to do so and got closer to the officer.

Alvarez was within seven feet of Sgt. Frie when he fired and struck Alvarez several times, police said.

“People can use the benefit of 20/20 and the Monday morning quarterback situation: ‘Why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t you shoot him in the leg? Why didn’t you fire a warning shot?’ But all that’s Hollywood,” said Pacheco, who added that these confrontations are intense, dynamic and require crucial split-second decisions.

Paramedics arrived and pronounced Alvarez dead.

The homicide unit will continue the criminal investigation, and the Office of Internal Affairs at TPD will conduct a separate investigation to examine the actions of the officers in this incident.

"We conduct a board of inquiry on every single shooting and the purpose of that is to make sure tha tthe officer's use of force is consistent with our policies and procedures," Pacheco said.

Frie is a 10-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department and has been involved in three officer-involved shootings in the last decade, including one this past April. 

Pacheco said police have had 270 contacts with Alvarez.