PHOENIX (KSAZ) - An innocent man was killed as a drug suspect tried to get away from police. In the process that suspect crashed into a car, the collision resulting in the death of a beloved uncle.
Now the suspect is facing a murder charge, and the victim's family is speaking out.
58-year-old Henry Tamayo was not part of the undercover drug investigation, but he became involved when the suspect that officers were after crashed into his Chevrolet Impala as he was driving in the area. The suspect was booked into jail Wednesday and could face second-degree murder charges.
Henry Tamayo's family is trying to cope with the actions that led to his death. Tamayo was a beloved photographer in the community. His family is overcome with grief, and frustration.
"I just feel hurt, and upset at the same time. In this case they were more worried about the suspect than my uncle," said Alejandro Tamayo.
Tempe detectives had been following 36-year-old Juan Toscano Del Val, an alleged drug dealer. Police say they pulled him over, and he took off, blowing through a stop sign on El Camino Avenue, ramming into Tamayo's car. The suspect was arrested shortly after the crash; he suffered a broken leg.
Detectives on scene called for help on the radio but did not take Tamayo out of the wrecked car themselves. It's something family members do not understand.
"Do not focus on the suspect, focus on people that are dying in a car accident, you know what I mean," said Alejandro.
Tempe Police say the incident weighs heavy on their hearts. Toscano is now behind bars and is facing second-degree murder and drug charges. Tamayo's family is left heartbroken, cherishing their memories they have of Henry and the memories he captured for others.
"Oh he was a happy guy, he used to like to dance a lot. I was just shocked, you know what I mean, shocked," said Alejandro.
Tempe Police issued the following statement:
"Our condolences go out to the family on their loss of their loved one. In fear of causing more damage or hurting Mr. Tamayo, they did not attempt to remove Mr. Tamayo from his vehicle. The detectives stayed by his side, talking to him as they called for the Fire Department and waited for them to arrive."
Firefighters removed Tamayo from the wreck and rushed him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.