Police release video taken during deadly officer-involved shooting in Ahwatukee Foothills

Phoenix Police officials are releasing more details surrounding an officer-involved shooting that killed a 40-year-old man in May.

According to Phoenix Police statements at the time, the incident happened on the night of May 21, when officers responded to a domestic violence call in an area near Chandler Boulevard and Desert Foothills Parkway, in Phoenix's Ahwatukee Foothills neighborhood.

The 40-year-old man who died has since been identified as Ryan Whitaker, and members of Whitaker's family say he was the victim.

"What my family and I believe is essentially, the police murdered my brother," said Whitaker's sister, Katie Baeza, in an interview with FOX 10's Justin Lum on May 22.

On July 7, members of Whitaker's family took part in a protest outside Phoenix Police headquarters, demanding answers from police officials.

"Days after they shot and killed my brother, we had nothing, not even a medical examiner report. We have nothing," said Baeza on July 7.

Body camera video shows moments leading up to shooting

In addition to releasing the video to the public, Phoenix Police officials also uploaded a critical incident briefing video about the incident to its unverified YouTube page.

In the body camera video, two Phoenix Police officers were seen walking to the apartment where the incident happened. 

Police officials say Whitaker came out the door, holding a gun and stepped towards one of the officers. Investigators say the officer who fired his weapon feared for the life of the other officer.

"Whitaker did not fire his weapon, which was recovered in the doorway," said Phoenix Police Sergeant Tommy Thompson, in the critical incident briefing video.

The encounter, according to Sgt. Thompson, lasted just seconds. Sgt. Thompson also says the officer involved in the shooting is a three-year veteran with the Phoenix Police Department. The officer involved was not identified by name.

Following the shooting, Whitaker's girlfriend was heard screaming and stepping out of the apartment with her hands in the air.

"Why did you guys shoot him?" the girlfriend was heard yelling to police officers at the scene.

"He's pulled a gun on us, ma'am," one of the officers responded.

"Because it's dark and someone has knocked on the door," the girlfriend was heard saying, in the video.

Later on, the girlfriend said she and Whitaker were playing a video game.

"We were playing Crash Bandicoot, so there may have been some screaming from PlayStation, but it's no -- it wasn't domestic violence or anything," the girlfriend told police, in the bodycam video.

Portions of 911 calls also released

In addition to body camera video, the critical incident briefing video contained a portion of two 911 calls that were made about the incident.

In the first 911 call, the voice of a man told 911 dispatchers of a domestic dispute incident.

"I can tell they're just at each other's throats down there," said the man on the 911 call.

In the second 911 call, the caller told 911 dispatchers the incident could be physical.

"Does it sound like it's escalated to any physical, or still just sounds verbal?" asked the 911 dispatcher.

"Oh...it could be physical, I could say, year, if that makes anybody hurry up on -- get over here any faster," the man on the second 911 call replied. "I hear slamming of doors, and -- I don't know, somebody could be gettin' thrown into a door for all I know, but I hear all kinds of banging."

Phoenix Police officials say due to pending litigation, the department will not discuss the incident any further than what was provided in the video.

Whitaker's family responds

In a statement released by Ben Laughlin with Poder In Action on July 15, Whitaker's family says they will hold a news conference on July 16 in response to the body camera video.

The family, according to the statement, is calling on Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams to immediately fire the police officers involved in the shooting, while adding that the family is still waiting to be told the names of the officers involved, along with access to unedited body camera footage and all documents and reports related to Whitaker's death.

Other body camera video released by police

In a statement released on July 15, Phoenix Police officials announced the release of video taken from the shooting that killed Whitaker, in addition to another shooting that happened on June 16 along Indian School Road in Phoenix.

In addition, police officials say they will release video taken during a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened on July 4 will be released on July 17, after the family requested a delay in the release.

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