Investigators Learn More About Police Shooting

February 22, 2008

photo of Joseph LevesqueOn February 21, 2008 at 5:21 pm, the Mesa Police Department responded to the report of a man with a gun at the Ham Bone restaurant located at 903 E. Main Street. According to witnesses the male suspect, later identified as 44-year-old Joseph Levesque (seen in photo) of Mesa, was arguing with another customer about who spent more time in prison. Levesque exited the restaurant and then returned a short time later. He engaged another customer in a verbal argument and threatened the customer with a gun. At this point the police were contacted and Levesque fled the scene in a red truck prior to police arrival. Witnesses provided the 911 operator with a description of the truck, as well as information that Levesque was armed with a handgun. The information was broadcast to responding police units.

The Mesa Police Air Unit located the suspect vehicle traveling east on Broadway from Stapley. The suspect was seen driving erratically through traffic, driving left of center and speeding. Unmarked police units responded to the area as the Air Unit updated dispatch of the suspect vehicle location and direction of travel. Investigators learned that during this time Levesque allegedly called his wife on his cell phone and told her that he saw the police helicopter following him. He also told her that he had passed a police car and that it was making a U-turn.

At the 4200 block of east Broadway, Levesque turned into a gated community. The gate to the community was closed, not allowing the suspect vehicle to enter. Levesque made a U-turn as unmarked police vehicles pulled into the driveway. The detectives exited their vehicles dressed in plain clothes and wearing police "bust vests" that displayed identifying police markers. After making the U-turn in the driveway the suspect vehicle was facing the detectives. Information that Levesque was armed with a handgun had already been broadcast and the detectives had their weapons drawn and pointed towards Levesque who was still inside of his vehicle. Levesque drove towards one of the detectives who was standing on the driver's side of his vehicle. The detective retreated to the passenger side of his vehicle and Levesque stopped his truck. According to witnesses, Levesque then backed his truck up and then drove towards the passenger side of the vehicle that the detective had just retreated to. Levesque's actions were not consistent with someone who was trying to leave the scene; instead it appeared that he was driving towards the detective on two different occasions. The detectives fired their duty weapons at Levesque in defense of life. Levesque was struck and the vehicle slowed to a stop after striking a marked police vehicle head-on that had just arrived on scene. Levesque was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in stable condition. Criminal charges are pending.

According to the Department of Corrections website Levesque was released from the Arizona Department of Corrections in 2006 after serving several years for Aggravated DUI and Misconduct involving weapons. Levesque's Department of Corrections record dates back to 1982. None of the detectives or officers involved in this incident were hurt. The detectives were placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

 

 

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