Domestic violence calls often dangerous for officers, expert says

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- In less than 48 hours, two domestic violence calls to law enforcement in the Valley ended in gunfire.

On Saturday night, Phoenix Police responded to a call that started near 36th Street and McDowell, where a man and woman were fighting. The man took off in a vehicle, had a weapon, and ended up in a driveway on Wilshire. Police say the suspect pointed a gun at a police officer, and the officer shot and killed him.

Then, on Monday morning, an off-duty Florence Police officer tried to help when he said a suspect was pointing a gun at someone on the ground outside a Hacienda HealthCare facility. Police say the suspect started shooting at the victim, and the officer opened fire to stop him.

Domestic violence calls are considered some of the most dangerous for police officers, and now, a former police officer is speaking out about the dangers involved.

"We know they're emotionally very intense, when you start talking about a domestic violence relationship," said law enforcement training expert Lon Bartel.

Bartel says domestic violence calls are unlike most police receive, as there's an expectation that things are already volatile

"You sometimes have years or patterns of behavior, and we know domestic violence is repeated, so it's not so much on edge that they can be emotionally charged," said Bartel.

Bartel says that most officers try to make sure deadly force is their last option.

"Whether we establish whether it could or couldn't have happened, based on what, what criteria are we using," said Bartel. "A law enforcement officer didn't put himself in that, he was brought to that situation, and unfortunately, those situations can then evolve, they can spiral out of control, there's any number of things that could happen."