PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A man was rushed to an area hospital after being shot by Phoenix police near 44th Street and Deer Valley Road. The officers opened fire on the man after they say he pointed a gun at them, but after the shooting, police discovered the situation was not what it seemed.
The 70-year-old male remains hospitalized in stable condition. He was shot once by officers after pointing a toy gun -- not only at officers, but at drivers in the area as well.
Police say the man lives in this Desert Ridge neighborhood. He was walking down Deer Valley Road and was at the 44th Street intersection when one officer opened fire.
This all started around 5:00 p.m. on Thursday after police received several 9-1-1 calls from people reporting a man was pointing a handgun at drivers traveling on Deer Valley Road.
The first officer to arrive at the scene gave commands to the man which he did not follow. Another officer arrived, at which point police say the suspect pointed a gun at officers. That's when a 35-year-old officer, who has been with the department for 12 years, opened fire, shooting the man once and hitting him. It was only after the man had been shot that officers realized the gun he had was not real. It was a toy gun.
Officers describe the gun as silver in color and resembled a real revolver.
Phoenix police say real or fake, they will treat any gun that's pointed at them or innocent people as a real threat and have this warning for anybody who might have toy guns out there.
"Do not take them into public and certainly don't point them at anyone. It's incredibly dangerous and you do not know how people are going to react.. and this horrible example.. it's turned out to be a toy gun for sure, but the officers did not know that, and they reacted accordingly," said Officer James Holmes.
When she found out a police shooting was just down the street from her, Keerti Allam said, "Technically, I should be more cautious. With families and kids around, that's the thing that's really concerning."
A very scary situation for residents in the area.
Police have yet to talk to his family to see if he is suffering from dementia or any mental illness. The reason for why he was walking down the road pointing a toy gun at drivers and eventually at officers is still unknown.
The man is expected to survive and he could be charged with aggravated assault once he's released from the hospital.